Yesterday Robert Costa and Tom Hamburger reported at the Washington Post that there is a group of establishment Republicans who are preparing for a floor flight via a brokered convention should Donald Trump win the nomination.
More than 20 of them convened Monday near the Capitol for a dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and the prospect of Trump nearing next year’s nominating convention in Cleveland with a significant number of delegates dominated the discussion, according to five people familiar with the meeting.
Weighing in on that scenario as Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listened, several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork for a floor fight in which the GOP’s mainstream wing could coalesce around an alternative, the people said.
This is a disaster in the making should this happen. I say this as someone who is definitely not a fan of Donald Trump. This is the exact scenario that many grassroots activists have been concerned about and are simply tired of – the party establishment driving the nomination process.
Should Donald Trump win the needed amount of delegates we should accept the result. Changing the rules midstream or doing something underhanded at convention to block Trump (or perhaps some other candidate they don’t like) will be a disaster.
They possibly may win the fight, but it will destroy the party. The base is absolutely fed up with the establishment already. A move like this would put them over the edge. Not to mention even if they were successful at blocking Trump’s nomination this way then he would probably just run third party. Trump wouldn’t win, but I’m pretty confident he’d pull enough votes away to ensure a Democrat victory.
One has to wonder if some of these folks would rather see Hillary Clinton in the White House rather than Donald Trump? I suspect that is the case.
Others are warning against a talk of a brokered convention as well.
Dr. Ben Carson said the GOP is flirting with disaster:
If the leaders of the Republican Party want to destroy the party, they should continue to hold meetings like the one described in the Washington Post this morning.
If this was the beginning of a plan to subvert the will of the voters and replace it with the will of the political elite, I assure you Donald Trump will not be the only one leaving the party.
I pray that the report in the Post this morning was incorrect. If it is correct, every voter who is standing for change must know they are being betrayed. I won’t stand for it.
This process is the one played out by our party. If the powerful try to manipulate it, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next summer may be the last convention. I am prepared to lose fair and square, as I am sure is Donald. But I will not sit by and watch a theft. I intend on being the nominee. If I am not, the winner will have my support. If the winner isn’t our nominee then we have a massive problem. My campaign is about ‘We the People’ not ‘They the Powerful.’
Adam Brandon, the CEO of FreedomWorks stated that the GOP is playing with fire with this kind of talk.
In 2012, Republicans took extraordinary steps to reduce the influence of grassroots conservative activists by centralizing power with a few party bosses, at the expense of grassroots leaders, insurgent candidates and rank-and-file delegates. These steps disenfranchised many convention delegates, some of whom were involved in the process for the first time.
Today, the party establishment is panicked about the rise of insurgent candidates. They still don’t get it. The popularity of these candidates is a reaction to the Republican establishment’s inability to effectively fight for conservative reforms and to articulate and implement the conservative principles and policies that got them elected in the first place.
There’s always room for improvement in the convention process. And we believe that party leaders should prepare for the possibility that no candidate will arrive in Cleveland with the delegate count to win the nomination. That does not mean they should be making plans or taking any steps that would thwart the will of the millions of Republican voters who will have participated in the nominating process before the convention.
The Republican establishment is playing with fire if they take any action that is perceived to harm the winners of caucus and primary states. If that’s what they are planning or doing, they may inadvertently set the stage for independent presidential campaigns and further damage an already fractured relationship with many conservatives and Republican voters, which is why insurgent candidates are thriving in the first place.
It’s one thing to have a floor fight when no one candidate has won enough delegates. It’s quite another to attempt to block someone from the nomination. The Republican Party would only do so at their peril.