The Potential Convention Coup d’Etat

By Claire Hardwick

CNN made a video that highlighted different people that are at the Republican National Convention before it officially starts this Monday. Delegates met this week to go over the “rules” at the convention.  Basically, the delegates decide how the convention will proceed, and how to nominate a candidate.

The whole delegate process gets extremely confusing. We think that in the primary, obviously the candidate with the most votes wins. This is not true. While of course, this helps, the candidate has to win a certain number of delegates that will represent him at the convention. This then varies between the parties, between the states-and then, you add the super delegates, who are normally former politicians that will perpetually represent the state at the convention.

Basically, a delegate is a representative. The delegate is supposed to represent the voters at the convention. So technically, the delegate is the one to nominate the candidate. The candidate does not win the primary, he or she can only accept the nomination. In former years, voters did not vote for the candidate at all. The candidate was chosen in “smoke filled rooms,” with a lot of back door deals and power play moves.

So while this should be a simple process, it is not. If you remember, there was outrage that Ted Cruz won the delegate he needed from Colorado without there even being a vote. This is how the primary system works.

Trump won the magical 1,237 number of delegates he needs to be offered the nomination, and it seems like the whole process should proceed smoothly. But a woman in the CNN video who acts as a delegate, gives an answer to why she is at the convention a week early which is a little suspicious. She told CNN,

“As a millennial Republican I think It’s our responsibility to stand up, to make our voices heard. I think there a lot of questions about what will happen next week-how much freedom the delegates are allowed to have to vote their own conscience. I think there’s a lot of pressure to come out as a united party, but I’m more concerned with nominating the right person-someone that’s qualified to be the president of the United States, and somebody that gives us the best chance of winning in November.”

The key here is “someone that’s qualified to be the president of the United States, and somebody that gives us the best chance of winning in November.” For those who oppose Donald Trump and oppose him being the nominee, this is one of their main arguments. An example is the Judge Curiel case, where many said this showed he was “unqualified” to be president. Mitt Romney, who is openly against Trump, used his business record as why he is unqualified.

And then, you have “the best chance of winning in November.” Many who are against Donald Trump say that he has no chance of winning against Hillary Clinton. John Kasich, in particular, has been very vocal that he would be the only candidate who has a chance to beat Clinton in the general election. In fact, he has said this over and over again despite only winning his home state of Ohio in the primary. Kasich has also been overtly in favor of a contested convention, and sites examples of some of our best presidents using this method to become the official candidate. And even though the convention is happening in his home state, which is a very important swing state in the election, he is not scheduled to speak at the convention to support the Republican nominee.

These comments from this delegate add fuel to the fire that the convention may, in fact, not go according to plan. The delegate said nothing about Donald Trump in the video, and instead, laid out the plan to make sure the candidate fit those certain guidelines. From those words, it seems like she is setting up a context that would justify why Trump should not be the nominee.

If something happens on the convention floor with the delegates, at this point, would not be a surprise. There have been so many articles and whispers about politicians and party insiders finding a way around Trump being the nominee. And legally, they can find a way if they want to. The primary is not chosen directly from voters, and even though Trump has the delegates he needs, they might choose to “vote by their conscience,” and nominate a different politician. And if they do, there are many politicians whom they could pick. Top of that list would most likely be either Paul Ryan or John Kasich.