The Republican National Convention could collapse into chaos this year, as prominent party leaders and delegates are organizing a revolt against presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump in the wake of poor polling numbers and a number of statements that have put him out of line with party ideology.
“This isn’t going to go away,” Cecil Stinemetz, an anti-Trump delegate from Iowa, told The Washington Post for a story Friday. “Trump or others might say that these are just little groups who won’t do anything and it’ll fizz out — that’s not going to happen. Trump just continues to embarrass himself and his party and this is not going to let up.”
A super PAC (political action committee) called Courageous Conservatives is organizing the revolt, and a conference call was held Thursday night, The Post reported, calling it the “most organized effort so far” to stop Trump. Dozens of delegates are supporting the plan.
The Plan to Block Trump’s Nomination
Blocking Trump’s nomination would be difficult because most delegates are “bound” to support him. To stop Trump, the movement is pushing the convention’s rules committee to pass a “conscience clause” unbinding delegates who say they cannot in good conscience support him. The resolution would then have to be passed by the entire convention before a new nominee is chosen. The committee is scheduled to meet on July 14-15, prior to the July 18-21 convention in Cleveland.
Significantly, the delegates say the movement is not intended to back Sen. Ted Cruz or anyone else – simply to block Trump.
The delegates are upset over Trump’s comments about federal judge Gonzalo Curiel’s heritage, over his support for taking away gun rights from those on the no-fly list and terror watch list, and over his poll numbers, The Post reported.
Presumptive Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton leads Trump by an average of 5.8 points in the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls
The movement may have received momentum Friday when House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview that “the last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that’s contrary to their conscience.”
The hope is to have a contested convention in which the delegates would pick the nominee.
“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” delegate Kendal Unruh of Colorado told The Post. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”
About 30 delegates from 15 states took part in the Thursday conference call, The Post reported. There are 2,472 delegates, and 1,237 are needed to win the nomination. Trump currently has 1,542 delegates, according to RealClearPolitics.com.
Unruh and his followers are organizing the effort via email, Facebook and Twitter. A group called the Citizens in Charge Foundation is planning to spend $2.5 million on advertising designed to sway delegates to the anti-Trump side.
“It’s not an effort for a candidate or against a candidate, but it’s an effort to educate people on what their real authority is and have them get the comfort that they’re not alone,” Eric O’Keefe, a supporter of the campaign, told the newspaper. “There’s a whole network of like-minded people.
“This is not a play for Cruz or Kasich or Ryan,” O’Keefe said. “I trust the delegates that if they understand their authority, they’ll nominate a good ticket.”
Several Republican leaders, including US Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) the chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, have said they will not endorse Trump or are not ready to do so.
Trump told The Post: “I won almost 14 million votes, which is by far more votes than any candidate in the history of the Republican primaries. I have tremendous support and get the biggest crowds by far and any such move would not only be totally illegal but also a rebuke of the millions of people who feel so strongly about what I am saying.
“People that I defeated soundly in the primaries will do anything to get a second shot — but there is no mechanism for it to happen.”
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