This weekend, the Washington State GOP held their convention and elected delegates to the national convention. In a stunning upset, they gave 40 of the 41 spots not to Donald Trump’s people, but to those loyal to Sen. Ted Cruz, who has already suspended his campaign.
From the Seattle Times:
The disciplined Cruz crowd in Pasco left even Trump’s state campaign chairman, state Sen. Don Benton, unable to nab a national delegate slot. Benton, R-Vancouver, ran unsuccessfully for at-large and congressional-district delegate positions.
Cruz backers voted in a slate of their own preferred delegates to send to Cleveland.
“The majority are taking a wait-and-see attitude” on Trump, said Saul Gamoran, Cruz’s state campaign chairman, who has also said he cannot vote for the New York billionaire.
Gamoran, who was elected a national delegate, said “constitutional conservatives” who backed Cruz are not looking to make trouble at this summer’s national convention. But he said they want to ensure their voices are heard as the party develops its platform and rules.
Benton waved off the dominance of Cruz forces as largely meaningless. All of Washington’s delegates are bound by party rules to cast national-convention ballots based on the results of Tuesday’s presidential primary, he noted.
This Tuesday, voters in the state will go to the polls, and the delegates will be bound to vote according to the results of that ballot. If Trump wins the nomination outright, it’s a largely symbolic win for the Cruz-backers, as far as who will be the nominee, but still a decisive one when it comes to who is there at the convention to help craft the party’s message.
The sentiments of those at the convention, the active members of the actual party Trump is running to represent, are decidedly not Trump-friendly in the state.
Amid talk of Republican unity, pockets of the “Never Trump” movement remained on the convention floor. The Cruz supporters said they won’t unite behind a man they view as unprincipled and dangerous.
Steven Wilson, a delegate from Normandy Park wearing a star-spangled cowboy hat, said he will write someone in on the November ballot rather than vote for Trump, whom he described as a narcissist “who’s flip-flopped so many times you don’t know whether you can trust him.”
Standing next to him, Alex Binz, a teacher from Kirkland, said he is worried enough about Trump’s “fascist” streak to actually vote for Hillary Clinton. “God help me,” he said, rolling his eyes and leaning backward at the previously unthinkable prospect.
If the media covers this in a way that is, as Trump would say, fair, then voters in the state will hear about it plenty before Tuesday. Trump loyalists will certainly see it as the party betraying their desires (even though they haven’t actually voted yet), but others may realize the extent of, and commitment to, the #NeverTrump movement in rank and file members of this party that Donald Trump is pretending to be part of. Contrary to the delusions of enamored hacks like Eric Bolling, the movement to resist Donald Trump is alive and well.
And in Washington, it just sent a whole bunch of people to the convention who can’t stand Trump and will have a voice.