by Jon N. Hall 7/1/16
As the Republican National Convention draws nigh, there is a movement afoot among some GOP delegates to “open” the convention and replace the party’s presumptive nominee with someone else, someone more “appropriate,” someone more, uh … Republican. Whether one thinks that such a “Plan B” should succeed, or even be allowed, depends on what one thinks a political party is, or should be. One’s position on that issue alone will likely determine what one thinks of the insurgent delegates’ drive to open the convention and contest the results of the primaries.
On June 17, RedState ran “Breaking: “Anybody but Trump”: RNC Delegates seek to stop Trump at the Convention” by Neil Stevens:
Trump is whistling past the graveyard on this, if he thinks the party has no means to protect itself from a complete collapse in November. He claims there is “no mechanism” to dump him off the ticket, but there is.
The rules of the 2016 convention have not yet been written. It’s merely an assumption that they’ll be the same as last time, but there’s no requirement that the delegates do that. The delegates in the end may feel compelled to act, as a consensus grows that Trump is a disaster.
Also on June 17, Hot Air ran “Here we go: Dozens of GOP delegates huddle over possibly dumping Trump” by Allahpundit:
To give you a sense of how difficult it’ll be to replace him, the dump-Trumpers will need a majority in their favor not just among the total delegates but probably on the Rules Committee too. There are ways in theory to oust Trump without changing any of the convention’s rules, but that would force anti-Trumpers to argue that all delegates are unbound and free to vote their consciences even under the current rules.
To that point, FoxNews.com on June 25 ran “Lawsuit seeks to unbind RNC delegates from backing Trump”:
Carroll B. Correll, who served as a campaign co-chairman for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Virginia’s 10th congressional district, is seeking class-action status for his suit on behalf of the commonwealth’s 49 Republican delegates and 110 Democratic delegates. […] At issue in the Virginia delegate’s case is a state law that says delegates are bound to vote on the first ballot for the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary […] Correll claims the law violates his First Amendment rights. He’s seeking an injunction to exempt him from criminal penalties under Virginia law or possible retaliatory litigation by Trump for backing another candidate on the first ballot. […] Correll’s attorneys, who filed the lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia, have asked for the case to be expedited in the hope of getting a ruling for the start of the convention in Cleveland July 18.
On June 24, The Blaze ran “Republican Delegate in Virginia Files Lawsuit to Get Out of Having to Vote for Trump at the Convention” by Tré Goins-Phillips that goes further into Correll’s lawsuit and features a copy of his 14-page complaint. The complaint states on page 5, item 21: “He [Correll] will cast a vote on the first ballot, and on any additional ballots, for a candidate whom he believes is fit to serve as President, thereby violating Section 545(D).” If Virginia were to bring suit against Mr. Correll for the way he votes, it would set up a case to test the constitutionality of state laws that bind delegates. (Bring it on, Virginia!)
“Anti-Trump forces hope to open GOP convention but struggle for footing” by Dave Helling appeared on page 7A of the Kansas City Star on June 23, it ran online the day before. Helling reports that dumping Trump is a longshot, and that GOP leadership is opposed to the “movement” and doesn’t seem to take it seriously. One reason to read Helling’s article is his quoting of Republican delegates from both the pro- and anti-Trump sides (link added):
Organizer Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate, said the outcome would justify the effort to open the convention. “Short-term, yes, there’s going to be chaos,” she told The Washington Post. “Long term, this saves the party and we win the election.”
Like Carroll, Unruh is a Cruz backer, (incidentally, I too voted for Cruz in the Missouri primary). But in pursuing a Plan B to nominate someone other than Trump, if delegates were to replace Trump with Cruz, it might be a huge mistake. Such an action would enrage Trump voters, whom the GOP needs. Moreover, delegates should reject all of the original 16 candidates whom Trump vanquished. If the insurgent delegates think they can replace Trump with Cruz or (especially) Bush, they’re not thinking well. The delegates would need to draft someone new, and in the Year of the Outsider that draftee needs to be an “outsider.” Only then will Republicans have a chance of hanging on to primary voters who voted for Trump. They should also resist any temptation to draft Romney, who’s been trashing Trump. Delegates would probably need to go outside Congress, perhaps even outside of elective office altogether, to find the right “outsider.”
On June 17, Sean Hannity posted a video and short article which quoted RNC Rules Committee member Curly Haugland: “The media has created the perception that the voters will decide the nomination, [but the] political parties choose their nominees, not the general public, contrary to popular belief.”
Hannity then asked: “what’s the point of anybody voting then?” To which I ask if delegates are merely supposed to rubberstamp the votes of the primary voters, what’s the point of delegates voting? What’s the point of having a convention? Indeed, what’s the point of having political parties? The answer to Hannity’s question is: there isn’t any point in the public voting in primaries; primaries are a bad idea. Either a party has self-determination or it doesn’t.
Hannity warns that if the nomination is taken from Trump, that there would be a huge walkout of Trump delegates. Who are these delegates? Delegates who would walk out of their own convention shouldn’t have been delegates in the first place. The only people who should be delegates are longtime, true blue Republicans, and none of them should hold a federal elective office.
If delegates to the Republican National Convention collectively decide to dump their presumptive nominee and find someone more appropriate, a decent respect for the primary voters makes it incumbent upon them to explain themselves, justify their actions, and tell us, to quote Mr. Trump, “what the hell is going on.”
What’s going on is Trump’s electability. On June 29, the New York Daily News ran an article by Joel Silverstein that Trump supporters really need to read:
Nate Silver has spoken: Hillary Clinton will be the next President.
The famed political pollster — whose past presidential predictions have been freakishly accurate — said Wednesday he gives the presumptive Democratic candidate a 79% chance of winning the White House come November.
Also on June 29, FiveThirtyEight ran “Donald Trump Has A 20 Percent Chance Of Becoming President” by Mr. Silver, the famed statistician with the “freakishly accurate” predictive abilities. Against a woman who is the subject of an FBI probe and whom most Americans see as an utterly corrupt, 20 percent isn’t so hot. But things could change, right? It’s early, right?
Donald Trump was never a safe choice. Republicans now have more elective offices than at just about any time since the 1920s. A weak nominee at the top of the ticket threatens all that. We’re told that everything is at stake in this election, including the composition of the Supreme Court for generations, not to mention the very nature and character of America. Aren’t delegates then required to nominate the best and truest Republican out there who can win?
Some believe that dumping Trump, even with his high negatives, would be more disastrous for the GOP than running with Trump. But wouldn’t that depend on who the new nominee is? What if delegates were to draft someone who is in sync with Trump’s positions on immigration and his other resonating issues, but whose “style” has broader appeal than Mr. Trump’s?
It’s not too late for Plan B.
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (938 views)