Those would be the same rules that ended with a stunning defeat for anti-Trumpers last week when the “conscience” amendment that would have unbound the delegates failed to get even 28 Rules Committee votes. Instead, the Committee ended up passing a new rule stressing that delegates are bound.
The new rules don’t take effect until the full complement of 2,400 delegates votes to adopt them. Normally that’s done quickly and painlessly via a voice vote — unless a petition signed by a majority of delegates from seven states insists on a full roll call vote, which could take hours. Supposedly the anti-Trumpers have the signatures they need. Now all they need to do is get the convention authorities to accept it.
According to documents provided to POLITICO, they have a majority of signatures from 9: Colorado, Washington state, Utah, Minnesota, Wyoming, Maine, Iowa, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The group says former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey has submitted the signatures to the convention secretary…
While they’re highly unlikely to win the roll call vote, the Never Trump delegates hope to at least draw attention to their cause and, with a large vote count, prove what they’ve long claimed: that a significant section of the party still doesn’t support the presumptive nominee.
They’d need 1,237 votes to reject the new rules. If that happened, it would almost necessarily mean that a majority of delegates had decided to oust Trump and were now insisting on new rules that would allow them to vote their conscience so that they could choose a new nominee. Um, that’s not going to happen, but the long slowdown in convention proceedings while a roll call vote is held would, in theory, send the message that anti-Trumpers have some real muscle on the floor and that they want some sort of outlet to register their dissent. Mike Lee warned about that last week after the Rules Committee fiasco, in fact. The Rules Committee chairman, Enid Mickelsen, wouldn’t even allow a roll call vote of the 112-member Committee in order to let anti-Trumpers go on record as favoring a “conscience” amendment. Today’s gambit appears to be a “screw you” to her and Reince Priebus. Won’t give us a roll call in Committee? Fine. Then we’ll force a roll call of everyone and screw up the schedule for day one of Trump’s party.
Don’t be so sure about the signatures having been formally submitted to the convention secretary, though. Thanks to Reince and company, the system is rigged:
Rebel delegates tell me convention secretary in hiding to avoid being presented with petitions for counter rules proposal.
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) July 18, 2016
Sec of the convention is hiding behind a curtain w/ armed guards to avoid receiving the signatures for an inbound delegate vote. #RNCinCLE
— Elisha (@ElishaKrauss) July 18, 2016
Trump cronies are whining too:
Just witnessed trump aide Rick Gates haranguing young Va delegate. "I'm gonna remembered how Va was an embarrassment at the Natl convention"
— Jon Ward (@jonward11) July 18, 2016
If the convention secretary physically refuses to accept the signatures in order to thwart a perfectly proper procedural move, every anti-Trump delegate there should leave town. There’s no reason to lend the party any extra legitimacy by sticking around. Just go, the same way Trump’s fans would have walked away if he’d ended up losing the primaries. Forcing a full roll call vote is a lame protest anyway under the circumstances since there’s no chance of actually winning the vote, just slow-walking the proceedings. (If you believe Team Trump, they’ve got 2,000 of the 2,400 delegates in favor of the new rules package.) Nothing’s going to stop the GOP from becoming the National Front at this point. If you can’t tolerate it, skip town.
As I write this, the latest news from the Examiner is that the convention secretary has accepted the petition, meaning that a roll call vote will take place. Easy prediction: This is going to end with some sort of deal struck between the anti-Trumpers and the RNC to avert it. No one wants to sit through a full 2,400-member roll, not even the “Dump Trump” crew. There must be something Priebus can offer them to get them to stand down. But what? If it doesn’t end with a deal, I’d guess that Reince and company will introduce some procedural maneuver in which the head of each state delegation is empowered to take a roll of his or her state’s delegates then submit the result to that chair. That way the 50+ roll-call votes can happen concurrently without a lot of fanfare. We’ll see.
Update: If there’s no deal to be made, there’s another way to avert the roll call vote: Bully some of the petition signatories into removing their names from the petition.
Trump aides and RNC staff are currently working to strip signatures from the submissions that would deny anti-Trump delegates the signatures they need for a vote, said top Trump delegate wrangler Rick Gates.
Staffers could be seen fanning across the floor, pulling aside delegates and coordinating their counter-efforts, and Gates said he is confident they can repeat their success last week when the Rules Committee met and blocked efforts to unbind the delegates.
“Our goal is to destroy them,” Gates said.
GA delegates were told today that if you behave on the floor, you're fine – "you don't behave – you get taken out"
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) July 18, 2016
There’s your new and improved, reformed, anti-establishment Trump-ified GOP. Again: Get out of dodge, anti-Trump delegates. It’s boycott time.
Update: This is exactly how you’d expect a Trump-led party to be run:
I'm told by one state delegation in the south that pro-Trump alternate delegates are being installed instead of present delegates
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) July 18, 2016
Update: Mike Lee sides again with the rebels. “Coercion masquerading as unity” is a perfect description of this fiasco:
On convention floor just now, Sen. Mike Lee tells reporters he'll push for roll call on the rules. Blasts "coercion masquerading as unity."
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) July 18, 2016
Update: And just like that, for the second time in four days, the Rules chairman took the stage, called for a voice vote on the new rules package, and promptly declared the rules passed despite the petition for a roll call vote being in good order. The system is absolutely rigged — in Trump’s favor. Anti-Trump delegates began booing and chanting “shame” after the ruling; Mike Lee and Ken Cuccinelli are loudly protesting on cable news as I write this. Stand by.
Update: It begins. Ken Cuccinelli has reportedly tossed his delegate badge and left.
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) July 18, 2016
Update: Priebus has apparently abandoned the stage. Total chaos.
Wow. Fmr. Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) says roll call vote push was drowned out by "Brownshirts," convention being run by "fascists."
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) July 18, 2016
Update: They just held a second voice vote on the new rules because of the chaos in the hall. Here’s the official explanation for why the petition for a roll call vote failed:
Nine states have requested a roll call vote. The chair is saying three of those states have pulled out, meaning 6 of 7. #RNCinCLE
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) July 18, 2016
Which three state delegations were bullied by Trump’s rigged-system GOP into dropping their support for the petition? In true Soviet fashion, the chair didn’t say.
Update: Let a thousand walkouts bloom!
Colorado and Iowa delegates have walked off the floor #RNCinCLE
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) July 18, 2016
“Delegates Unbound,” one of the anti-Trump groups, is now calling for a walkout by all supporters. If this Soviet RNC nonsense had been organized for any other candidate, it would be cited as Exhibit A of how corrupt the establishment is. Because it’s for the populist strongman Trump, eh.
Update: Here’s freak-show video of the RNC chicanery. “It’s not clear what just happened,” said Mike Lee afterward. What happened, Mike, is that you got railroaded by the guy who’s running as the “law and order” candidate this year.
Update: More Lee: