It’s one thing when Erick Erickson or Hugh Hewitt ask the Republican National Committee delegates to find some way of saving the party by stopping Donald Trump from getting its nomination.
It’s another when the Republican National Committee delegates themselves start engineering a way to nominate “Anybody but Trump.” And that’s what’s happening.
The Washington Post has talked to delegates who are part of a group of “dozens” who are looking to save the party by stopping Trump.
“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” said Kendal Unruh, a Republican delegate from Colorado who is leading the campaign. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”
The fresh wave of anti-Trump organizing comes as a growing number of Republicans have signaled that they will not support Trump for president. In addition, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who is slated to chair the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland, said in remarks released Friday that House Republicans should “follow their conscience” on whether to support Trump.
This fresh wave also comes as Donald Trump is plummeting in the polls, crashing against Hillary Clinton in a few weeks. On May 27, when he first made his “Mexican judge” comments, it was a one point race. Before he opened his mouth and made comments widely perceived as being openly racist, Clinton was only ahead 43.8-42.8. Since then, that’s become a five point lead. It’s that bad, and the party can see it:
Mitch McConnell compared Donald Trump with Walter Mondale. In 1984 the Democrats nominated the man who lost 49 states, and in the process lost 16 House seats, while failing to retake the Senate. They even failed to knock off Rudy Boschwitz in Mondale’s Minnesota, the one state Mondale won!
Republicans might want to avoid a similar fate this year. Trump is whistling past the graveyard on this, if he thinks the party has no means to protect itself from a complete collapse in November. He claims there is “no mechanism” to dump him off the ticket, but there is.
The rules of the 2016 convention have not yet been written. It’s merely an assumption that they’ll be the same as last time, but there’s no requirement that the delegates do that. The delegates in the end may feel compelled to act, as a consensus grows that Trump is a disaster:
Other top Republicans, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), said this week that they will not back Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that he’s not yet ready to support Trump. And Richard Armitage, a deputy secretary of state in George W. Bush’s administration who is close with other members of the party’s national security establishment, announced plans to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton if Trump is nominated by Republicans.
Eric Minor, a GOP delegate from Washington state, said he felt compelled to join Unruh’s group because “I hear a lot of people saying, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something about this?’ Well you know what, I’m one of the people who can. There’s only 2,400 of us. I’m going to reach out to us and see if there seems to be momentum for this. And if there is, we’ll see where it goes.”
I’d personally back some pretty awful tickets over Trump or Clinton, including a hypothetical John Kasich-Jon Huntsman ticket. We’ll see if the delegates can put together something better.