Convention Looks Unlikely to Deny Trump Nomination

A last-ditch attempt to change the rules and nominate someone else does not appear to have enough support.

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18 (Gage Skidmore)

Efforts to take the Republican presidential nomination away from Donald Trump do not appear to be going anywhere.

Some of the delegates to the party’s convention in Cleveland, Ohio next week haven’t given up. They fear Trump would lead them to an historic defeat in the fall’s election.

Opinion polls suggest they’re right. The RealClearPolitics average has Hillary Clinton leading the Republican candidate 45 to 41 percent support nationally.

FiveThirtyEight gives Trump a one-in-five chance of winning. It predicts he will lose crucial swing states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia.

Last stand

The anti-Trump delegates will make their last stand this week when the rules committee of the Republican National Convention meets in Cleveland. It consists of two members from every state plus officials from the national party organization.

Their bid is not to outright stop Trump. What they hope to accomplish is that the convention will “unbound” its delegates, so they could vote for whomever they personally support as opposed to the winner of the caucus or primary in their home state.

The national party opposes freeing the delegates and it looks like a majority of the rules committee members will vote down the proposal as well, fearing the repercussions if Trump is perceived to have been cheated out of the nomination.

But his opponents only need the support of 28 out of the 112 members on the panel to demand a minority report that would then go the full convention for a vote.

If they get there, it’s still unlikely that a majority of the 2,472 delegates — most of whom are bound to support Trump — will accept the change. But if the anti-Trump forces can’t even get 28 votes on the rules committee before the end of the week, it’s over.

Closing primaries

Two other changes are more likely to happen:

  1. Nevada’s caucus could be pushed back next time. It has been riven by errors and controversies in the last couple of elections. Politico reports that goodwill from the other early primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina — has run out. Arizona and Colorado are seen as contenders to hold the “first in the West” primary instead.
  2. Future Republican primaries may be restricted to registered Republican voters. Party chairman Reince Priebus has long advocated such closed primaries and the fact that Trump won a majority thanks to his support from independents and previously non-voting Americans appears to have persuaded others it’s time to shut non-Republicans out.

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