"Dump Trump" can cause chaos in Cleveland, but what then?

“In my view it’s a pipe dream,” says Steve Duprey, a delegate from New Hampshire. Steve Scheffler, a Rules Committee member from Iowa, says, “I don’t think it’s going anywhere, and I think it is ludicrous that anybody would be involved in that kind of thing. . . . If that were to happen, it would create friction in the party that couldn’t be healed for ten, 15, 20 years.”

What all the efforts lack beyond infrastructure and cash is a candidate who would replace Trump as the nominee. “You can’t beat somebody with nobody,” says Anuzis. “There are only a few people who could rally the conservative base on the floor of the convention.” That group includes Cruz and Walker. But, he says. “There’s no rallying point, there’s no focus, there’s just a desire to educate delegates in the event that they might have a choice or a choice emerges. And as of today, a choice is just not there.”

Nonetheless, though many Rules Committee members say they aren’t familiar with the provision allowing for a minority report, Randy Evans, a longtime RNC committeeman and Rules Committee member from Georgia, says he thinks the issuance of a minority report that opens the unbinding of delegates to debate on the convention floor is likely. As Evans sees it, the Rules Committee is composed of three factions: a pro-Trump group, which he says is the largest; a contingent of party regulars, activists, and donors without an allegiance to any candidate; and a group of solid Trump opponents, which he says is the smallest of the three but will almost certainly still have the 28 votes to move a motion to the convention floor. (Some of the members who will constitute the Rules Committee in Cleveland are not yet known. The committee consists of two members, a man and a woman, elected or appointed by each state’s delegation, and a handful of states have not yet selected committee members.)

This week’s revelation, in fundraising numbers released by the Federal Election Commission, that Trump had a paltry $1.3 million on hand as of May 31, raised alarm among Republican heavyweights and added some energy to the movement to stop the party’s presumptive nominee. “No matter how odious you are, no matter how awful you are, you can be forgiven, but one thing that’s not forgiven is the money,” says a delegate who asks to remain anonymous. “It’s astonishingly, insanely weak. . . . I gotta believe that Reince has got bleeding ulcers at this point.”

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