They insist that delegates are not bound to vote for the Donald at the convention./i>
Just as with Britain’s Brexit vote, the smart money has decided that the Never Trump movement among Republican delegates has no chance of succeeding. The Donald has won 1,542 delegates, well above the 1,237 needed to nominate. No major alternative candidate has publicly said he wants to challenge Trump. Many delegates are party regulars who want a quiet life in Cleveland instead of a pitched battle played out on national TV.
And yet, discontent with Trump remains high. He languishes in the polls behind a weak Hillary Clinton, his fundraising numbers are anemic, his campaign shambolic. Despite previously promising to do so, he has refused to release his tax returns while at the same demanding tax returns from those who want to be vetted to be his vice president. Many delegates believe damaging material from his tax returns will leak out of the federal government in October, just as happened with Mitt Romney in the homestretch of the 2012 campaign.
Trump’s political position also isn’t as secure as many think. Randy Evans, a top Georgia election lawyer who is advising Trump on convention matters, admits that because so many of the delegates Trump won actually support other candidates, the mogul can probably count on only a solid 890 delegates. Another 680 delegates are opposed to Trump; and the final 900 are somewhere in the middle, with attitudes toward the presumptive nominee ranging from reluctant acceptance to deep nervousness.
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Eric O’Keefe, who is president of a new group called Delegates Unbound, has opened an office in Cleveland and hired 15 “whips” who are contacting delegates. Their pitch is that — contrary to the claims of Republican National Committee officials — Trump’s delegates are not bound to vote for him on the first or second ballot. Curly Haugland, a member of the Republican Party Rules Committee that meets in Cleveland this week, has written a persuasive book, Unbound: The Conscience of a Republican Delegate, arguing that GOP delegates have historically always retained the power to vote their conscience. Some delegates maintain that Trump’s failure to unite the party, run a less gaffe-ridden campaign, and organize grassroots support over the last two months have changed the landscape that delegates face.Read the rest of John Fund's op-ed HERE.
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