On the Issue: The GOP vs. Donald Trump

GOP Elite Hope Brokered Convention Can Stop Trump

Photo from the 2012 RNC Convention, celebrating Mitt Romneys nomination. Courtesy of Vice News.

Photo from the 2012 RNC Convention, celebrating Mitt Romney’s nomination. Courtesy of Vice News.

Jaylin Paschal, Editor-in-Chief

Republican frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Donald Trump, is expected to face off with those within his own party. After all, there were seventeen GOP candidates at the beginning of the race for the nomination, so of course the Republican party would be dealing with factions. Trump himself once touched on this when explaining why he went after former-candidate Dr. Ben Carson, whose endorsement he now cheers. “It’s politics,” Trump explained. And he’s exactly right. That’s politics.

What I doubt Trump expected, however, was the depth and severity of these factions. Somewhere between the start of the Trump campaign and now, divides that were once based on candidacy–or “politics”–are based on a concept far more nuanced: morality.

Conservatives who argue that Trump’s behavior and policies contradict their party’s core beliefs are doing everything in their power to take him down. As the primary elections continue and Trump keeps winning delegates, it is obvious that most of these efforts have been unsuccessful. Influential Republicans including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Nikki Haley, and Lindsey Graham have all but begged the electorate to stop voting for Trump. As Trump continues to win delegates, these endeavors have proven unfruitful.

Since Trump keeps winning states in the primary elections, establishment Republicans have to change their game plan. The new plan of attack to keep Trump out of the general election is a controversial one: a brokered convention.

The Republican party distributes 2,472 delegates through a series of primaries and caucuses in each state. To win the nomination, a candidate must win a simple majority, or 1,237, of these delegates. As of March 22, Trump has won 739 delegates, and is expected to win more in the remaining primaries. However, if his opponents Ted Cruz and John Kasich continue to take delegates away from the frontrunner, no candidate may reach the simple majority. This is how we would arrive at a brokered convention.

Simply put, at a brokered convention, delegates vote until there is a candidate with a majority, with delegates sometimes voting out of correspondence with their state’s electorate. Vice News describes it as “a phenomenon in US politics in which no candidate enters their party’s nominating convention with enough delegates to win and there’s a massive floor fight to decide the winner.” As explained by The Washington Post, “state rules vary on the point at which committed delegates can change their minds. Candidates can release their delegates to vote for whomever they want. Often, delegates are allowed to switch their votes if their bound candidate sinks below a certain level of overall support. (In California, it’s 10 percent, for example.) But keep in mind that there are also those unbound delegates wandering around. They can vote however they want.” Because of this, the candidate with the “most” delegates from the primary elections, but not the majority (51%+) of delegates, could possibly lose the nomination.

To further complicate the situation, the Republican National Committee (RNC) created a bylaw in 2012 which requires any potential nominee to “demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight or more states.” So far, the only two candidates to win eight or more states are Trump and Cruz. However, this eight-state rule is technically temporary and could be voted out at the Republican convention this year, clearing the way for someone who has won no states at all or even ran a campaign to eventually get the party’s nomination.

A brokered convention could potentially mean that even though the majority of Republican voters in the primaries voted for Trump, the GOP could essentially “veto” that selection and run someone else in the general election.

The establishment faction of the Republican party generally fears what a Trump nomination may do to the party. This is controversial for obvious reasons, as it could lead to the total disregard of the voice of Republican voters. A brokered convention could override the choice of Republican core.

To make one thing very clear, I do not think a Trump nomination is in the best interest of democracy, but I don’t think a brokered convention is either. If Trump is the nominee of the people, then so be it. I don’t believe candidates like Kasich, who lost a state to Marco Rubio after Rubio suspended his campaign, should continue on simply with the hopes of keeping Trump from winning the majority and having success at the convention. I also don’t believe that rules should be altered to allow someone who has ran no campaign to get the nomination, and hope that is not being seriously considered by the RNC.

Trump annoys me, but the manipulation and obstruction of democracy annoys me more.

That’s my stance on the issue. Share your take in the comments below.