I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like his hair. I don’t like his feckless, pampered gits. I don’t like the way he mangles conversational English… and as a Southerner I have a very low bar in this department. I have no doubt that one way or another, win or lose, he is going to do multi-generational damage to the GOP and conservatism. I’ve been holding out hope that a delegate revolt in Cleveland, fueled by his abysmal fundraising efforts and plummeting polls, would deny him the nomination and choose just about anyone else, hell, even me, to run in his stead. The linchpin to that effort has always been the Rules Committee unbinding delegates and allowing them to vote their conscience.
The Republican National Committee has released the list of the 112 members of the upcoming convention rules committee — a panel that will be the focal point of a struggle by anti-Donald Trump delegates to block the mogul’s nomination at the Republican National Convention next month.
But Trump foes hoping the panel will help their cause are in for a disappointment, as the roster is stacked with officials who publicly support making Trump the nominee.
The list, which was sent to which was sent to members of the committee late Thursday and obtained by POLITICO, includes 38 members of the Republican National Committee — more than a third of the entire rules panel. So far, RNC members have largely taken their cues from chairman Reince Priebus and towed the line in support of Trump. RNC members like Henry Barbour of Mississippi, Harvey Tettlebaum, Morton Blackwell of Missouri and Bill Palatucci of New Jersey will be returning for repeat appearances on the convention rules committee.
Nineteen members of the committee also served on the rules panel in 2012 and may have an advantage when it comes to understanding and maneuvering through the potentially lengthy process. This group includes Trump supporters like Massachusetts’s Vincent DeVito, Pennsylvania’s Lawrence Tabas and Tennessee’s John Ryder, who’s also counsel to the RNC.
On the surface this looks like the job just got harder. But you dig deeper and you find this:
Only a few Trump opponents who have promised to fight to stop him in Cleveland are on the list, including Colorado’s Guy Short and Kendal Unruh. Curly Haugland, who’s long championed the notion that delegates are free to vote their conscience — even without changing the party’s rules — is also on the list.
Unruh has been leading a group called “Free the Delegates,” which is working to identify delegates to support adding a “conscience clause” to the Republican Party rules. It’s a move aimed at releasing delegates from their obligations to back Trump at the convention. But so far, among rules committee members, only she and Short have publicly embraced the effort.
Seriously, if there was any effort to turn the Rules Committee into a lockstep Branch Trumpidian operation there is absolutely no way in hell Curly Haugland and Kendal Unruh would be on that committee. The presence of RNC members on the committee doesn’t mean what the article says it does. Just a couple of days ago a Branch Trumpidian RNC member, Arizona’s Bruce Ash, was whining about the RNC actively undercutting Trump..
More importantly you will note the author of this story, Kyle Cheney, is Paul Manafort’s go-to guy at Politico for stories on how the Dump Trump movement is floundering.
Dumping Trump at the convention has always been a high-risk uphill battle. The odds of pulling it off without a lot of help from Donald Trump himself are slim. But there is nothing in this story that says anti-Trump Americans are in a negative position for the Rules Committee fight in Cleveland.