Cleveland: What NeverTrump'ers Want

If it was up to Ken Cuccinelli, Viriginia delegate and former AG for the state, the Cleveland GOP Convention would be labelled the Republican Party’s Altamont. Fortunately, a few dozen NeverTrump’ers shouting for a roll call vote, while being drowned out by Trump supporters, is not quite the same as drug-crazed Hell’s Angels bludgeoning an unruly crowd back in 1970.

Defeated in the Convention Rules Committee vote, they took their fight to the convention floor. Apparently they had the signatures of 11 state delegations - you can be sure Colorado and Utah were on that list - enough to require a floor roll call vote on the official set of rules. Basically, it's all about them desperately trying to free up the delegates to ignore the will of those who voted in the primaries, and to seal off future GOP primaries to registered Republicans only.

But a furious campaign to convince crucial state delegates to withdraw from the alternative rules proposal paid off after a short while. D.C. Minnesota, and Maine apparently dropped out. While Alaska screwed up the paperwork. And lastly Iowa withdrew. That means it went from 11 to 6 states, 1 less than the 7 states required to force a floor vote on the rules. And so the rules passed.

Yes, only in conventions do arcane rules acquire the force and drama of battlefield decisions. In no small part because delegates are more than willing to squeeze every bit of theatrics from the events, crying shame without a single wrinkle in their suits and skirts. Ok, maybe there were more than a few wrinkles. And a few red, white, and blue capes, spread out like the wings of angry eagle. Ready to swoop down on it's prey.

What should Trump do and say over the next 4 days to win them over? What should he definitely not do to win them over might be a better question. What do NeverTrump'ers want at this stage? Another nominee? Somehow, from somewhere? Not only do they not want to be appeased. They will almost surely actively fight Trump through the entire convention. Maybe even disrupting speeches. That's where party unity will be sorely tested. If it hasn't already.

Given Trump's nature, it is not likely that he will do much reaching out. Whipping of delegates - which means a few carrots and a few sticks, all verbal and in private meetings - will surely continue. But if the protests from the likes of the Utah and Colorado delegations continue, will Trump hit out angrily at them from the podium? The primary season should be over. But NeverTrump'ers will not let it go. Perhaps not even during the general election campaign.

And yes, it's true. This is a battle for the soul of the GOP. A little shouting is the least one can expect. But an unruly precedent is being set for future conventions. What can the RNC do? Make sure their version of the rules passes. And that they did.

Posted by Keeley at July 19, 2016 5:07 PM
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This is a battle for the soul of the GOP.

Robots don’t have souls.

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