Prominent voices in conservative media are holding on to the hope that delegates will block Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention (RNC). Some have made the case that a close reading of the RNC rules shows delegates are not officially bound to vote for Trump, while others are openly calling for him to be set aside in favor of an alternative conservative nominee.
Republican Leaders Are Concerned About A Divided Party As Conservative Media Call For Trump To Be Removed At Convention
NY Times: Republican Leaders Are “Reluctant ... To Encourage A Challenge To Trump At The Convention” But Are “Not Discouraging The Idea.” The New York Times reported that Republican Party officials are “not discouraging the idea” of removing Trump as the nominee but are growing concerned about a possible split in the party as the call to remove Trump grows louder among some parts of conservative media. From the June 9 piece:
As Republicans try to move past the furor that Donald J. Trump provoked with his attack on a Mexican-American judge, party leaders are finding themselves in the unpleasant position of asking yet again just how far is too far — and what, if anything, they can do to keep Mr. Trump in check.
Some lawmakers, senior members of the Republican National Committee and delegates to the party’s convention next month in Cleveland acknowledged in interviews this week that another disruptive self-inflicted crisis would force the party to begin seriously looking at ways to deny Mr. Trump the nomination.
So far, discussions of a renewed dump-Trump drive have taken place only among the factions of the party that are openly opposed to Mr. Trump, and they have failed to gain much support.
Conflicting impulses are at play. Republicans have been reluctant to openly encourage a challenge to Mr. Trump at the convention for fear of hopelessly splitting the party. But they are not discouraging the idea, either, as their patience with Mr. Trump’s erratic and offensive behavior wears thin. [The New York Times, 6/9/16]
Conservative Media Figures Want Delegates To Deny Trump Nomination At Convention
Conservative Radio Host Hugh Hewitt: Keeping Trump As The Nominee Is “Like Ignoring Stage-Four Cancer. You Can’t Do It, You Gotta Go Attack It.” Conservative radio host and MSNBC commentator Hugh Hewitt suggested the party deny Trump the nomination or face certain defeat in the general election. Talking Points Memo reported June 8 on his comments:
“It’s like ignoring stage-four cancer. You can’t do it, you gotta go attack it,” Hewitt said on his show Wednesday. “And right now the Republican Party is facing—the plane is headed towards the mountain after the last 72 hours.
Hewitt said simply rejecting Trump’s candidacy wasn’t enough and that a new candidate would have to be named in his place.
“I wanna support the nominee of the party, but I think the party ought to change the nominee," he said. “Because we’re going to get killed with this nominee.” [Talking Points Memo, 6/8/16]
Conservative Writer Bill Kristol: Delegates Rejecting Trump At The Convention Is A Path “Worth Exploring.” Conservative writer Bill Kristol wrote in The Weekly Standard that Republicans should avoid being “perpetual sucker[s]” and that the idea of ditching Trump as the nominee at the convention is “worth exploring.” From the June 10 Weekly Standard piece:
Almost a half-century ago, the great Donald Westlake published a comic mystery novel, God Save the Mark. It’s probably not one of Westlake's very best efforts (though even a Westlake non-best-effort is awfully good). The “mark” of the title is a reasonably intelligent and likable young man who happens to have one great weakness: He's a perpetual sucker, an easy target, a credulous victim in a world full of con men and their scams.
Republican leaders now know they’ve been played for marks. They’ve awakened to the con. They no longer believe Donald Trump’s boast that “I can be more presidential than anybody.”
How to go about liberating the party from the con man? Perhaps the delegates at the GOP convention will decide the Party of Lincoln shouldn't be the party of marks. Perhaps a leading Republican will decide to run as an independent candidate to allow the voters not to be played as marks. Both paths are worth exploring. [The Weekly Standard, 6/10/16]
National Review’s David French: “There Is Not A Single ‘Bound’ Delegate To The Republican National Convention.” National Review contributor David French, who briefly considered mounting an independent conservative candidacy for president, wrote that delegates are not actually bound to vote for any candidate based on the rules of the Republican National Convention (RNC) and that if Trump becomes the nominee, “It will be because every level of the GOP made a decision that he should represent its principles and values in 2016. No one can hide, and no one can run for cover.” From the June 9 piece (emphasis original):
Let’s begin with a simple proposition: As a matter of law and history, there is not a single “bound” delegate to the Republican National Convention. Not one delegate is required to vote for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or any other individual who “won” votes in the primary process. Each delegate will have to make his or her own choice. They — and they alone — will choose the Republican nominee.
The paragraph above contradicts much of what you’ve been told about the presidential nominating process, and it even contradicts state law in multiple jurisdictions, but state law does not govern the Republican party. The party governs itself, and according to the rules it has implemented, there is only one convention where the delegates were truly bound: 1976’s, when Gerald Ford fended off a challenge from Ronald Reagan.
None of this means that Trump is in any imminent danger of a delegate revolt. But it does mean that delegates do not go to the convention with their hands tied. They will be choosing to vote for Trump. Some will make that choice out of conviction, some out of a belief that they should act as the instrument of the voters, and some out of raw fear. But they will all be making a choice.
If Donald Trump does emerge as the nominee of the Republican party, it will not be because anyone forced him on the GOP. It will be because every level of the GOP made a decision that he should represent its principles and values in 2016. No one can hide, and no one can run for cover. The party will decide. [National Review, 6/9/16]
Steve Deace: “Dear GOP Convention Delegates: Declare Your Independence.” Influential radio host and Conservative Review contributor Steve Deace wrote an open letter to the Republican delegates titled “Dear GOP convention delegates: Declare your independence.” Deace suggested delegates can make a case using the RNC’s rules to deny Trump the nomination. From the June 4 Conservative Review piece (emphasis original):
There is a reason the Constitutional Convention was not viewed as an elitist coup back in 1787. The smart, privileged white guys who ordained the Miracle in Philadelphia knew that its blessings would be stillborn unless they handed the final say on the matter to someone other than themselves.
That would be “We, the people.”
Delegates to the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland should follow in the footsteps of that tradition according to the new book “Unbound: The Conscience of a Republican Delegate.” Co-authored by Curly Haugland, a 17-year veteran member of the RNC, who also currently sits on the powerful rules committee for the convention, the book uses the RNC’s own actual rules to make its case all GOP delegates are not bound to vote for Donald Trump (or anyone else as the nominee) who violates their conscience.
Haugland’s book says these RNC rules are in place to “preserve and protect” each delegate’s right to “a full and unfettered right to vote as he wished on matters ranging from approval of rules, credential challenges, whether to uphold or overturn rulings of the chair, and perhaps most importantly, on the nomination of the Republican Party’s candidate for president and vice president of the United States.”
If Haugland is right, and he is on the rules committee after all, then not a single GOP delegate is bound to vote for Trump as the Republican nominee. Especially given that Trump’s politics and character make him a far better standard bearer for the Democrats. [Conservative Review, 6/4/16]
Conservative Commentator Erick Erickson: Scott Walker Could Be A “Savior” From Trump AtThe Convention. Erick Erickson, conservative commentator and staunch voice for the anti-Trump movement, predicted that either Trump will learn his lesson and act more presidential, or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will become a “savior” and offer an alternative to Trump at the convention. From his June 10 piece in his website The Resurgent:
If Trump can go the next two weeks without unforced errors and can do interviews along the way without embarrassing himself or the party, his nomination is assured. Trump has to be able to go out, without the Teleprompter, give speeches, and also give press interviews. If he hides in a bunker for the next two weeks, he will damage himself with prominent Republicans and donors. They need to see that he really is growing up and toning down.
If Trump can do that, he is the nominee, and not just the presumptive nominee.
But if Trump cannot control himself and exercise self-discipline in the next two weeks, the Republican convention is going to spiral out of control and look to a savior. That savior is most likely going to come from Wisconsin. It will not be Paul Ryan, but Scott Walker.
Right now there are several separate similar efforts to unbind the delegates at the convention. The Rules Committee is key and sources I talk to expect the delegates to be split on the committee with about 30% for Cruz, 25% for Trump, and 45% willing to go in the direction that saves the party destruction. If Trump continues on like this week, those separate similar efforts will become one effort.
Behind the scenes, it has not gone unnoticed that many of the major donors who are still opposed to Trump were also Scott Walker fans. There are rumors cropping up that Walker might be wiling (sic) to entertain being a dark horse candidate if we get to the convention and Trump has spiraled out of control. Walker’s withdrawal of his Trump endorsement was seen as a positive sign in that direction. [The Resurgent, 6/10/16]
RedState’s Jay Caruso On Conservatives Seeking to Remove Trump: “Where The Hell Have You People Been For The Last Year?!” RedState’s Jay Caruso reacted to the news that conservatives were pulling their support for Trump and some had began calling for him to be denied the nomination by asking where those voices were during the primary season. From his June 9 piece (emphasis original)
Hugh Hewitt is now openly calling on delegates to reject Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.
Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, lit into Donald Trump today, challenging the presumptive nominee to prove he's “not a bigot.”
Seeing this now doesn't have me clapping or cheering them on for calling out Donald Trump.
The only thing it makes me want to do is shout, “Where the hell have you people been for the last year?!”
Plenty of people decided early on they wouldn't support Donald Trump for President. Some people considered it, but it didn't take long for Trump to turn them off. I'm wondering why is it that Kirk and Graham, Hewitt and Scarborough are suddenly acting like they discovered fire for some reason, when what Trump said was par for the course for how he has behaved since he got into the race. [RedState, 6/9/16]