Inside the Desperate Final Days of the ‘Stop Trump’ Effort
On Friday night, there was a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in a D.C. suburb, and on Sunday, a conference call outlining a campaign strategy. With just one week until the start of the Republican National Convention, “Never Trump” Republicans are waging an all-out war to wrest the nomination from Donald Trump’s tiny grip.
The only thing they’re still lacking is a candidate to replace him.
Before any white knight can trot forward, the Never Tumpers will have to clear a path. On Sunday night’s call, a group of rogue delegates led by Regina Thompson — Colorado delegate, RNC credentials committee member, and executive director of Free the Delegates, one of several groups that have sprung up to oppose Trump’s bid — outlined the varied strategies they’re pursuing in the precious few days left before Trump is officially made GOP nominee.
In the early part of this week, a Virginia judge is expected to rule on one delegate’s suit challenging a state law that binds delegates to the state’s primary results. Beau Correll, the plaintiff in that case, said Sunday, “If Virginia’s binding statute is struck down — and we’re all cautiously optimistic about this, that the judge will rule on substantive grounds — 20 states are going to be in play, politically.” He name-checked delegate-rich California and winner-take-all Arizona, in particular.
In the later part of the week, the RNC rules committee will convene in Cleveland to write the bylaws governing this year’s convention. Free the Delegates and sister group Delegates Unbound are pushing for the consideration of three separate proposals. The biggest share of their energy has been devoted to lobbying members of the rules committee to support a “conscience clause” that would allow delegates to vote for someone other than the winner they are bound to by their state’s primary results.
Two other proposals were discussed as well: one that would call for a secret ballot at the convention rather than a public vote, and another that would give delegates greater influence in selecting the party’s nominee for vice president. Interest in influencing the VP pick gained steam with reports this weekend that, following his contentious meeting with congressional Republicans, Trump was considering asking retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a lifelong Democrat, to be his running mate.
Correll discussed the merits of the VP proposal, which he called “the arranged marriage option”: “I think it’s a good, common-sense proposal to add a counter-weight to Trump’s instability and help ensure that delegates, who are unbound, have a choice for who the vice president is, thereby ensuring a conservative partner in attempting to fight Hillary Clinton in the general election.”
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