Although the Republican National Convention in Cleveland is less than a month away, and its presumptive nominee has the required number of delegates committed to him, the GOP does not want Donald Trump to be the face of the party.
To paraphrase Professor Harold Hill singing in the Music Man, “Ya got trouble, folks, right here in the RNC city. Trouble, oh we got trouble, and it begins with a capital ‘T.'”
Sure, the GOP barely lifted a finger to stop Trump in the primaries, but the Republican forces behind the growing #NeverTrump and #DumpTrump movements have become more organized, with nearly 400 GOP delegates and/or alternates now being reported anti-Trumpsters.
So how do they plan on telling Trump, “You’re fired!” The plan to get the delegates unbound from their Trump pledge is pretty ingenuous: A simple change in the convention Rules Committee that would let GOP delegates buck their pledge votes by invoking a “conscience” clause. If they get to vote their conscience, they can vote for anyone but Trump.
Colorado GOP delegate Kendal Unruh, de facto head of the #DumpTrump movement, sent the convention rules committee a letter outlining the proposed change.
It reads, in part:
“If any such delegate notifies the secretary of his or her intent to cast a vote of conscience, whether personal or religious, each such delegate shall be unbound and unconstrained by these rules on any given vote, including the first ballot for the selection of the president of the United States, without the risk of challenge, sanction or retribution by the Republican National Committee (RNC),” the letter postmarked Saturday reads.
“Allowable personal reasons shall include the public disclosure of one or more any grievous acts of personal conduct by a nominee candidate, including but not limited to, criminally actionable acts, acts of moral turpitude or extreme prejudice, and/or notorious public statements of support for positions that clearly oppose or contradict the policies embodied in the Republican Party’s platform as established at the national convention.”
Unruh and her fellow anti-Trump delegates hope to do this in July on the convention floor. And then convince the remaining 1000+ delegates to actually vote for the clause.
“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” Unruh told The Washington Post. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step up and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”
Coinciding with Unruh’s efforts is a class-action lawsuit filed by GOP delegate Beau Correll in Virginia. The lawsuit challenges a state law that requires delegates to the national convention to vote for the winner of the primary, in this case Donald Trump.
The suit reads:
“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees delegates to the Republican Party’s and Democratic Party’s national conventions the right to vote their conscience, free from government compulsion, when participating in the selection of their party’s presidential nominee,” the complaint reads.
“Nonetheless, Virginia law acts to strip them of that right, imposing criminal penalties on delegates who vote for anyone other than the primary winner on the first ballot at a national convention. That law cannot be sustained under the First Amendment or as a legitimate exercise of Virginia’s authority under the United States Constitution.”
Correll is the only named plaintiff in the lawsuit but he filed the suit on behalf of all of Virginia’s Republican and Democratic delegates. His attorneys wrote in the complaint that Correll is concerned Trump may sue him when he votes against him at the convention this summer, based on Trump’s reputation of being litigious.
“Correll, like many other Republicans, refuses to cast his first-ballot vote — or any other vote — for Virginia primary winner Donald Trump because Correll believes that Trump is unfit to serve as President of the United States,” the suit reads. “Correll is concerned that voting against Trump at the convention may subject him to retaliatory litigation by Trump, Trump’s campaign, or other persons or entities associated with Trump.”
The attorneys have asked for the case to be expedited because the Republican’s nomination convention is only a month away.
Is it bad for me to love the GOP’s outpouring of hate for their presumptive nominee? Nah! And I can’t wait to see how Donald Trump handles all the RNC’s “Free the Delegates” protesters. This time he’s not going to be able to get his thugs to throw them out.
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