For some reason I thought we were done with this conversation after the last two non-Trump contenders dropped out of the primary race, but it seems that there are still some folks spinning up their gyroscopes and looking for ways to change the outcome of the GOP nominating process. The Washington Post reports today on some of the holdouts who are brainstorming and exploring options where Donald Trump could somehow not wind up with the nomination. Their prospects, even by their own accounts, don’t seem to be terribly rosy.
Angered by Trump’s shifting views on taxes, the minimum wage, national security and how little he discusses social issues, conservatives across the country are studying the party rule book for last-ditch moves they could make when the convention begins in Cleveland.
Veteran Republican campaign operatives familiar with convention planning are offering to educate delegates on how they can act as free agents, even if the Republican National Committee insists that delegates adhere to the results of their state primary. Some even talk about convening somewhere other than the convention site.
“I want to call our movement the ‘Make Our Party Great Again’ movement, but many don’t have my warped humor,” said Karen Unruh, a Republican delegate from Colorado, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Wait a minute. “Free agents?” You’re talking about the bound delegates. So you’re saying they should just chuck the rules of their own state parties now and go rogue? Apparently so. The article quotes Erick Erickson as saying he’s focused on finding ways to “unbind” delegates required to vote for the winner of their state.
You know, I’m old enough to remember when the #NeverTrump folks lectured everyone on a daily basis about the importance of the rules and how “majority means majority” and a plurality doesn’t count. These are just the rules, we were assured, and if Trump didn’t read them beforehand then that’s on him. Now that it looks like Trump will finish with more than 1,237, I suppose the rules are looking a lot more mushy these days.
A better example of the thinking underlying these plans comes in a follow-up quote from the aforementioned Ms. Unruh.
Trump may hold an insurmountable lead in party delegates, but Unruh said that she and other party activists do not like how he “grabbed the Super Bowl ring and he didn’t finish the game. There’s a team on the field that has plenty of blocks left. We don’t know who our quarterback is going to be, but we’re still on the field to play.”
If I can offer to be of some help here, I’m pretty sure I’ve identified your problem and it shows up in the analogy you chose. You see, this isn’t a football game. Football has a large group of people on the team, all of whom are on the field and are equal victors if they score the most points. The primary is more like a golf tournament. There were a bunch of players out there, but each one was flying solo and competing against the rest of the field. They may have all the caddies and support staff they want, but at the end of the day there’s only one person left holding the trophy. No matter how Ms. Unruh wants to slice it, the rest of the players went back to the clubhouse. Even if the rest of the caddies are standing around the 18th fairway acting upset, they’re never going to be putting on the green jacket.
As a side note, that NBC poll I referred to earlier this morning had another nugget in there. The number of Republican and GOP leaning voters around the country saying they are ready to support Trump for better or worse is up to 87%. That’s closing in on the full army that Romney was able to muster. Stand strong for as long as you like and God bless you for the strength of your convictions, but let’s not pretend that Trump is going into battle alone anymore. You’re in a rapidly disappearing minority and everyone else is focusing on a way to stop Hillary Clinton, assuming that’s still possible. It should be a goal we all agree on by now.