RNC chief Reince Priebus: Let's face it, these "Dump Trump" people are "sore losers"

Via BuzzFeed, it’s Hannity (of course) who introduces the term “sore losers” here but Priebus repeats it, which is an … interesting strategy by the party’s fundraiser-in-chief towards a group of Republicans who aren’t feeling so enthusiastic about their party these days. Funny thing — until this year, disaffection among parts of the base has typically been treated as a failing of the candidate himself, not of the people who refused to support him. McCain and Romney didn’t seal the deal with populist Republicans so many of them turned into “missing white voters,” as they had every right to do. This year, suddenly it’s the voters’ (and the anti-Trump delegates’) failing for not coming to terms with the party’s nominee even though he’s wildly less qualified to be president than McCain or Romney were. How come? If Hannity and Priebus are right that “Dump Trump” is little more than a collection of butthurt from fans of candidates who didn’t make the cut, then presumably there’d be a strong “Dump Rubio” movement among Cruz fans if Rubio had win the nomination and a strong “Dump Cruz” effort among Rubio fans if Cruz had won. Does anyone think there would have been?

Related: Had Trump come up short in the primaries, would the chairman of the party be calling his many millions of Republican supporters “sore losers” while they’re busy weighing whether to support the nominee or not? Priebus would be terrified of alienating them and triggering a lasting split in which populists alight en masse for a new party led by Trump. He feels safer insulting #NeverTrumpers because they’re party regulars who are less likely to light out on their own in the near term, when there’s still a chance that the GOP will revert to what it’s been over the last several decades in time for 2020. One group can’t be taken for granted but the other can, for now. In the meantime, though, either Reince wants votes and money from anti-Trumpers or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, just as Sarah Palin presumably doesn’t, by all means let the insults fly — but bear in mind that the harder the feelings are, the more likely the disaffection will bleed through into other election cycles. If he does, then why follow Hannity’s dopey lead on the “sore loser” name-calling? Pay the dissenters some lip service by acknowledging that there are understandable doubts about Trump given his ideological differences with movement conservatives and his, ahem, colorful character but stress that in the end it’s either Trump or Hillary filling those Supreme Court vacancies. I’ve never heard of a party chairman essentially kissing off an unhappy faction within his own base. Maybe Trump’s rubbing off on Reince.

Or maybe Reince figures he can get away with it because the “Dump Trump” movement is essentially dead, at least at the convention? Here’s a scoop via the AP:

Randy Evans, a member of the RNC from Georgia, says Trump and party loyalist forces appear to have the convention “under control,” with growing numbers of Republicans eager to avoid “the prospect of chaos” if the rules are abruptly changed.

Evans said Trump can apparently count on at least 1,700 devoted delegates — enough to fend off any rule changes. An Associated Press count shows that Trump has 1,543 delegates ready to back his nomination — more than the 1,273 he needs to officially clinch the top slot.

Dump Trump advocates say they have at least 400 delegate supporters but won’t provide more detail. Even though Trump won more than 13 million votes and captured around 40 primaries and caucuses, his foes say he’s not conservative enough and is likely to lose and drag down GOP congressional candidates with him.

Remember Randy Evans? He’s the same pro-Trump delegate who provided that splashy whip count to the Wall Street Journal last week claiming that just 890 delegates were solidly pro-Trump, 680 were solidly against, and another 900 — a decisive number given the 1,237 threshold to win — were in play. How we went from 890 on Team Trump to 1,700 in the past week is unclear. Maybe a lot of undecideds made up their minds. Or maybe the 900 “undecideds” weren’t really undecided so much as they had simply not said anything public yet about which way they were leaning. Unless they’re actively agitating against Trump, it may be safe to assume that they’ll go along with Team Trump and the RNC in rubber-stamping his nomination. Either way, 1,700 delegates would be a gigantic cushion for Trump just in case the “Dump Trump” people manage to force a vote on the floor about whether delegates should be unbound. It’s hard to imagine any real drama about ousting him if that number’s anywhere close to accurate.