There seems to be tremendous misunderstanding of rule 40b of THE RULES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY [1. AS ADOPTED BY THE
2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION TAMPA, FLORIDA AUGUST 27, 2012 **AMENDED BY THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON APRIL 12, 2013, JANUARY 24, 2014, MAY 9, 2014& AUGUST 8, 2014**] among even supposedly capable reporters and journalists/bloggers. This misunderstanding of the rules could very well serve to exacerbate the growing friction surrounding a possible open convention.
I will attempt to clarify the rule for anyone who might be interested in actually knowing the facts. I am of the mind that many see things in the rule that aren’t there to forward their own agenda or to elevate their candidate to an imaginary status. Others simply get it wrong.
In his 13 Dec article for Real Clear Politics, David Byler demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of 40b. And he is not alone.
Many people think if someone gets to the convention floor with a plurality of votes, and a majority of delegates in 8 states, then that candidate must be given the nomination or some kind of affront must have been committed. But Rule 40b, found in the first link above, states with crystal clarity that the eight state delegate majority only permits a candidate to enter his name for nomination at the convention. It means nothing in terms of that candidate actually being nominated.
The growing chorus among Trump supporters is that if they have the PLURALITY of delegates by July (leaving aside the existing byzantine rules governing each state’s processes) that Trump should be the nominee. Well, sorry to disappoint everyone, but at the moment, the rules in place at the time all candidates entered the race DO NOT say that.
To get the nomination before the convention a candidate must have garnered 1237 (a MAJORITY or more than 50%) of all delegates. If no one has achieved that, then the rules for nominating a candidate at the convention are in effect. This is not a plot to stop Trump. This is not the establishment attacking anyone. It is a simple case of following the rules. You know, rules; those things Democrats and College crybabies like to ignore.
At the moment, there is no ethical reason to suspend the rules in favor anyone. So, if we get to July and no one has the 1237 required for nomination, all three remaining candidates must demonstrate that they have carried the majority of delegates in 8 states in order to advance to the convention as a candidate. It is altogether possible that John Kasich will fall short of this mark (I can hear John now, whining to anyone who will listen, “But hey, I carried Ohio. I should be allowed to compete at the convention.” Sorry, dude.) That will likely leave Cruz and Trump.
Now, if no winner emerges from the first vote, the chairman will call for repeated votes between Cruz and Trump to see if anything shakes loose in either direction. After the first vote is taken, many delegates will not longer be bound to the candidate to which they were previously bound. There is the possibility that a new player or a previous candidate who had suspended their campaign could declare their candidacy. In such an event the rules committee could provide for that new candidate.
So far, there is nothing here that anyone can hypothetically cry about in advance of the convention. If any of these eventualities occur and an unreasonable or violent outburst result, the damage done to the party will be on the heads of those facilitating or committing unreasonable or violent acts, not the GOP.
If however, the rules of the convention, or qualifying for the convention, should suddenly be changed to the disadvantage of any candidate – OR – should the GOP blatantly take sides against any or all of the primary field and put forward a ringer to compete at the convention, then all damage to the party will be on the GOP itself.
The rules in place are perfectly reasonable. To quell the rising rancor in the GOP, the mature, ethical and responsible approach would be the following:
- GOP: Butt out. Enforce the rules and let the voters decide who they want as a candidate.
- Candidates: quit crying about process and get back to the issues, primary among which is the economy and jobs. Leave process to the GOP (so long as the GOP respects point 1).
- Voters: Pay attention to what candidates are saying and make your decisions based on the quality of the argument. Don’t be conned by empty populism (Trump) or identity politics (Cruz). Make them work for your vote.
Matt Jordan is a travel writer, political commentator and author of 16 20 24. Get your SIGNED copy here!
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