When It Comes to the Convention, Follow the Rules


Noah Rothman has it right, in Commentary:

… With Trump facing unexpected resistance on his course to the nomination and the once fantastical hope of a contested convention looking increasingly realistic, Trump’s campaign has put a gun to the head of the Republican Party. The real estate mogul’s campaign advisors have warned that, if their candidate shows up to the nominating convention in Cleveland with a plurality of the delegates and the party denies him the nomination, his now weaponized supporters will “burn the place down.” The city of Cleveland has begun stocking up on riot gear and crowd-control equipment ahead of the convention.

These brutish intimidation tactics are having their intended effect on the majority non-Trump wing of the GOP. The fear of political violence from a thuggish mob is surely turning the stomachs of those on the right who are now urging preventative capitulation to Trump’s forces if no candidate amasses the delegate majority necessary to become the nominee.

Rothman goes on to advise that giving in to the threats will legitimize them and represent the takeover of the GOP by a violent minority.  Appeasing threats of violence tends to lead to bigger threats and actual violence in the long run.  I don’t know if it’s true everywhere and always, but in general, it’s better to stand up to threats as soon as they appear, while they’re still hints and before their makers are overly invested in the promise of violence.

If a majority of Republican delegates don’t want Donald Trump — that is, if they recognize that the Democrat-dominated news media that has given him so much free publicity will turn its attention to crushing him once he’s the nominee and that he’s a bullying con artist who would only advance the damage that President Obama has done to this country and the world if he does survive the onslaught — then they should follow the rules, and if those rules bring somebody other than Trump to the nomination, that’s the way it should be.  If Trump supporters resort to violence, then they aren’t activists, they’re thugs and criminals, and responsible patriots have to stand up to thugs and criminals, not give into them.

Funny thing about safeguard rules in political processes: Everybody agrees that they’re necessary to prevent odd circumstances from having dangerous results… until it turns out that their guy would be the dangerous result.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    ” the city plans to spend roughly $30 million of the federal grant on personnel, and $20 million on equipment.”

    The city received a $50M federal grant for security and now plans to spend it. This was long before any threats, real or imagined, from Trump people.

    The hysteria is becoming palpable. Last night I heard on the radio that Trump had asked supporters to raise their hand in a pledge. The commentators then went on for 10 minutes about how this was reminiscent of Hitler and his Nazi hordes.

    The plans to steal a convention that you cannot win does not please me either. If that is the best they can do, who is handing the election to Hillary?

    • Mario

      If you think Trump’s “salute” stunt was unintentional, you underestimate him. What he expected to gain, I can’t say, but he knew what he was doing.

    • Mike678

      You may want to look into how “democratic” the Democratic party is in it’s selection of delegates. The establishment vrs the insurgents is playing out in both parties.

      • OceanStateCurrent

        I dispute that characterization, because it requires that I be on the side of the establishment, which strikes me as ludicrous.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    It seems overlooked that about 75% of Republican voters have voted for Trump, or Cruz. To sneak anyone else seems utter contempt for the electorate.

    • Mario

      If some consider Trump an acceptable choice, contempt is the only reasonable response. The goal of a contested convention should be finding a reasonable compromise between the various factions, that’s it. If you don’t walk in with a majority, the party owes you nothing. The fact that Cruz & Trump, of all candidates, were the least likely to engender feelings of compromise or cooperation is an unfortunate aspect of this debacle.

      I wouldn’t put Cruz’s chances of walking away with the nomination in these circumstances anywhere near as close to zero as Trump’s, though. He could even win quickly if the party is willing, as it should be, to finally jettison the white power wing.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        If you don’t walk in with a majority, the party owes you nothing.
        If the party doesn’t respect the will of it’s members, they owe the party nothing. If, as very possible, Hillary is indicted; couldn’t Trump form a third party and win? The Republican party would disappear. Some would say that it already has, simply having become a distinction without a difference.

        The republican failure to stand up when it was announced that “we won’t know what this bill means until we pass it” was it’s death knell.

      • OceanStateCurrent

        I think Cruz might be the key to the whole Trump mystery. The more-establishment factions probably hoped that Trump and Cruz would split a particular vote, and that may in fact be happening, but what they didn’t count on was just how big that vote would be… an extremely strong majority.

        • Mario

          That’s actually pretty close to how I think it all played out, but a little backwards. I think it goes back to the left’s old bugaboo of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” In that case, it was an imaginary cabal between talk radio personalities (and sometimes Fox news) to drum up hate and lies against Democrats. This time, I think it might actually be real? This will take a while…

          I think it’s remarkable how when most of the “establishment,” to the extent it is even real, is lining up against Trump — calling out his lies, calling him a fraud, etc. — there has been a certain group in the right-wing media (Hannity, Scarborough, Laura Ingrahm, et al) vouching for him and defending him at every turn. I find it odd that they don’t offer even a little skepticism in the face of so much opposition from their own side.

          So, I know it sounds crazy, but my theory is that this time they really were conspiring; they were priming the pump for years by convincing their listeners/viewers that the Republican party wasn’t working, that they weren’t fighting hard enough, etc. Even when the party has had more success than ever, the base cries out that they want the party to fight. The expectations are almost delusional, and I think it was set up that way so they could eventually reveal their savior, Trump, as the man that would finally fight back — the cure to the disease of anger and dissatisfaction that they created.

          And I think this is where Cruz came in. He jumped the gun, saw the script they laid out, and decided to be the fighter they were calling for. When they said (incorrectly, I might add) that the party could force Obama to concede by shutting the government down, he went ahead and did it, expecting support that the media wasn’t willing to provide, because he wasn’t their guy.

          So I think Cruz shows the lie to the whole mess. Cruz worked to make himself the guy that Trump is pretending to be. If Cruz weren’t around, Trump could have walked away as the only “fighter.” But Cruz is right there, and the fact that he doesn’t get the kind of support from Hannity etc. that he should even though he has proven to be something that Trump can only assert shows that the Trump campaign was really only about Trump, and not the cause he purports to champion.

          I know I rambled, but I hope it made sense.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            Trump — calling out his lies, calling him a fraud

            OK, what lies are those? What fraud has he committed? I hear all of these generalizations against him, but specifics seem a little thin. Certainly he has not been “taken under sniper fire” like Hillary.

          • Mario

            If you can’t see them already, I suspect this is a waste of time. So I’ll just go with Trump University, as it is both a literal fraud and he insisted at the debate that it had an A+ from the BBB (complete with a fake fax) when it was really a D-. Lies & fraud in a nice little package.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            I admit that is disappointing. But still,it does not compare with his likely contender being taken under fire by a sniper.

          • Mario

            I guarantee if those are our choices that we’ll have a third major choice. There’s too much room on the right to not see an independent run. I refuse to choose between those two.

          • Rhett Hardwick

            I think that will be the end of the Republican party (some would say that has already happened). I assume you mean that Trump will be the winner and
            another Republican will run third Party. Even if Trump is the third party. The Republican candidate will garner few votes, having nothing to offer. Trump will draw most Republicans and quite a few Democrats. Most Democrats will simply vote the party line, easily overpowering any opposing candidates. If the Republicans had anything to offer, Trump wouldn’t be where he is. Best we can hope is that Shrillary is indicted.

          • Rhett Hardwick
  • Joe Smith

    Not a Trump supporter, but where were those “safeguard rules” in 2012 when Romney and his supporters changed the rules to deny Ron Paul delegates a voice?

    Funny thing about changing the rules (such as Rule 40 in 2012 – the 8 state rule) to prevent insurgency and “dangerous results” from happening, it sometimes turns out that what goes around, comes around (see Harry Reid circa 2013)..