So Lawrence O’Donnell had a fantastic segment on his show tonight with two members of the Rules Committee for the Republican Party. If you weren’t convinced by what I wrote last night, check out what they have to say. And pay particular attention to their predictions. When one of the men who writes the rules that determine which delegates will be credentialed says that he expects Trump will come up 75 short…the rules determine how many delegates Trump will get, and this is the guy who write those rules. So…uh…yeah.
A few other interesting observations to share with you today, in no particular order…
According to the 538, Trump got a little bit closer to the total that he needs to supposedly secure the nomination, but even after a big win the best projection is that he will fall a bit short. And that’s even without taking into consideration any of the things I wrote about at length last night, all of which still very much applies. So no, he’s not yet the presumptive nominee, and if that is what he eventually becomes, it will only be after the primary in California. So this process isn’t nearly over, no matter what anyone keeps insisting.
We’ve got our first real polling on how Republicans feel about the idea of a contested or open convention, and things don’t look good for Trump. According to a new Monmouth poll, among GOP voters not currently supporting Trump, 55% want their party to nominate someone other than Trump if Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot at the convention. Trump has the backing of 41% of Republicans in this poll, so that’s 55% of 59%, or roughly 1/3 of the party. If you’d asked me to guess, I would’ve guessed a much lower number, and for a bunch of reasons. Most people don’t know much about the ways conventions actually work, and even fewer know anything about the specific rules this convention will operate under. If they do know anything about conventions, they know that way back in the “distant past,” “power brokers” in “smoke filled rooms” picked the nominees, and that for reasons that are usually unstated and unexplored, that what we do know is “better” than what they did. Generally speaking, people have a pretty dim (and wildly inaccurate!!!) view of the way conventions used to work, so I would’ve expected a much lower percentage of people willing to say this. And yet here we are, with a full 1/3 of voters saying they actively want their party to choose someone other than the current front-runner if that option becomes available at the convention! That’s pretty amazing. Will that number climb or collapse? It’s hard to know at this point, I can think of all kinds of arguments either way.
Remember what I said last night: it only takes a tiny number of people to trigger a challenge under the rules, and at that point either the Rules Committee or the Chair of the Convention has to issue a ruling. So I’ll ask again: do you honestly think that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will be shy about using the rules to their advantage at a convention? That either will choose to put the interests of the party ahead of their own? Would you be willing to be money on that? And while I’m asking questions, do you know just how nasty Cruz’s campaign manager is willing to get?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The convention is a long way off, and as things stand right now, Trump is likely to fall just short even if all of the states award all of their delegates in the ways that the results of the caucuses and primaries suggest they will. Which they won’t, because they never do, not even in years when things aren’t this closely fought. Just look at what has been happening in the Virgin Islands, for example! That’s some seriously crazy business!