We stand at the edge of a precipice, looking over the edge, seeing what the fall would look like.
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the two founders of #FreeTheDelegates, Regina Thomson. Regina was in good spirits, the news keeps getting better for the movement, the odds have now shifted significantly, and she was nearly triumphant in her feelings.
She gave an amazing statistic which made the statistician in me gasp. Seventy Percent of all Delegates reached do not want to vote for Trump. Further she said they have contacted more than half of the delegates that will attend the convention. When asked if she knew that this meant the odds are likely that more than sixty percent are against Trump if this number even mostly holds true she said “Yes, and we are excited about it”.
I found it unusual, but it does match my own feelings… to be excited that we must remove a candidate so unworthy of office. *I am also supporting the #FreeTheDelegates effort, in the interest of full disclosure.* To borrow a phrase from the Conference call we had so recently “We have with only delegates for leaders have gathered more volunteers than the Trump team has all year long”.
The excitement to remove Trump is not just limited to Regina and Kendal of course, wherein people are volunteering to raise funds to go and are seeking guest passes just to show their desires to help, help in any manner possible. Regina insists there is no issues with volunteer needs. “We will have one or more whips per every State, we have just opened our office in Cleveland, and we have 20 paid staffers at this time outside the Delegates ranks”. Obviously with these numbers the effort has a significant chance to actually have more Whips than the RNC will bring to bear. Last I heard Trump will not have any Whips, as he is relying upon the RNC to provide for most of his campaign needs. The difference is remarkable.
Jerry Dunleevee is being credited as a logistics champion, coordinating the various pieces like a Chess Grandmaster, putting volunteer Whips where they will be needed, working out transportation needs, and coordinating the opening of their office. In many ways the #FreeTheDelegates team feel they are not tearing something down, but rather redoing the foundation, making it stronger and more firm.
There was, I mentioned, a comment done by a The Blaze reporter, about the “Tower of Babble” from last night. She agreed that it was loud. There were deliberate Trump trolls making noise, there were people anxious to hear answers to heartfelt questions she said. So I asked her of what kind of questions does she see regularly.
“The biggest things tend to be worries about intimidation, of breaking from rules and tradition, and of who will fill the role as candidate” she said. Pressed she says that intimidation tactics have been used in some cases, and that is why they are keeping identities of key people who support the cause secret. The rules and tradition part was especially noteworthy to her “We had delegates voting their conscious in just the last Presidential Election” she noted, and we observed that in the history of the Party such objections have happened on a common, if low volume, basis. “That’s why we seek to have it done in the rules committee, if done there then the delegates will worry less about it overall.” said Regina.
As for who will fill the candidate position she said “The first to declare, and there are a few who have indicated they will be declaring, the first to declare will be garnering early support, early media, and will be better positioned to take the lead when we have forced it to unbound voting”. I specifically asked one pertinent question after this statement, contested or brokered candidates? She said both. She was not authorized to name the persons however so I had to ask other questions then.
So I brought up the article by Erick Erickson where he drew a panic about the meeting yesterday and today. Regina had harsh words about that. “It did not help at all to cause a panic, the meeting has been on the agenda for months, and except that the party is incapable of good communications, there is nothing here that is a problem”. So I asked about the 17 year old boy who the Trump team, according to media, is trying to block. She said that he is going to be a delegate after all since Trump filed one day too late. She did however say that two specific delegates (unnamed) were contested, and that the delegation from the US Virgin Islands was under contest.
The US Virgin Islands case is interesting because they voted for a slate of people to attend the convention, then the head of the US Virgin Islands Republican Party, Chairman John Canegata, removed their credentials and empowered new delegates. This action was almost certain to be contested regardless of which candidate was going to be entered in nomination in July. Thus this one is expected and while noteworthy, is not related directly to Trump.
The last one she mentioned is very news worthy. Therein a lady filed a complaint against the party for actions during the nomination of the 13 at large, and 13 alternate at large delegates. While occasionally a complaint has been filed in previous conventions this one is very note worthy on the proposed “fix”. The repair sought it that five of the delegates be chosen at random and be removed, and then 3 complainants, and 2 random delegates be added. Yes you heard that right. It appears to me that this may be a headline producer.
All said however it appears, excluding the US Virgin Islands, that a maximum of 7 people could be removed from being credentialed. Regina insisted the process also has appeals built in, and that there is no apparent effort to use the credentialing process to control what sort of delegates arrive to the convention.
Asked if she had an opinion on a candidate to replace Trump she insisted that her job is not to choose someone, but to “Open a door that a good candidate, a worthy candidate could come through”. She insists that the Delegates, all of them, were chosen because they represent the interests of the United States, the hope for a better future, that these future leaders, those who will discard Trump, will be not just sung praises about, but will be lifted into higher office for demonstrating wisdom and clarity in a time of crisis. “We need a new generation of leaders, ones who will challenge the problems present in society, and who better than those who have shown critical leadership when needed”. Indeed I agree that a rules committee member who votes to free the delegates is likely to see amazing support from the 53% of the Republican Party who have already decided they want a new candidate. It was a good point to close on but she had one more comment to play.
“In times of crisis, and this is a crisis for the Republican Party, those who take bold actions will be remembered far longer than those who sit back and wait for things to play out”. And with that last comment we closed the interview.
Now the support for #FreeTheDelegates has a firm and strong basis. The majority of Trumps supporters are actually delegates who in their heart support other candidates. Those from Florida for instance support Marco Rubio. Many in S. Carolina support Ted Cruz. There are delegates for many of the stronger effort candidates from the election cycle, and even some who now support a brokered convention. Trump’s own campaign admitted that there may be problems if the delegates come unbound.
And the #FreeTheDelegates team has announced that they have 28 Rules Committee People. More so they have indicated more are wanting to shift, but are for a variety of reasons worried about doing so.
Helping them to realize past their worries is the mission of everyone supporting the effort, but it will be manifest in the Whips themselves and those friendly Delegates. The Whips will need to demonstrate the dire State of the Party in terms each individual delegate can relate to best, and to make them aware of the problems with Trump in stark terms. No not stark, but in alarming terms.
After the battle removes Trump from his chance to fail in a campaign for President, then and only then should we work to be partisan again in choosing, and uniting behind, a candidate. That is the message of #FreeTheDelegates and while I have my own choice, today, and the remainder of two weeks, I prefer the unchoice, the unchoice action being to first remove Trump so that we can have that next discussion.