The last hope for Republicans who wanted to keep their party from nominating a pseudo-fascist insult comic was that the #NeverTrump rebellion would score 28 votes on the GOP Rules Committee — enough to force a poll of the entire convention on whether to allow delegates to vote their conscience on the first ballot. Of course, even if that happened, most reporting suggests the mutineers wouldn’t have won that convention-wide vote. But at least they would have been able to put a damper in Trump’s coronation, by allowing news cameras to record delegates denouncing the nominee from the convention floor.
Alas, the National Review’s Tim Alberta reports that even this consolation prize is beyond the #NeverTrumpers’ reach. Two hours into the committee’s meeting, RNC leaders suspended deliberations, officially because of a “broken printer” — but, in truth, because Reince Priebus wished to broker a backroom deal to stop the onslaught of amendments that disaffected delegates were proposing. Through its first two hours, the committee had reviewed 12 of the party’s 42 rules, 9 of which had been challenged. These proposed amendments had merely been filed, not debated. The apparent goal of the amendments, according to Alberta, is to drag out the meeting until pro-Trump delegates are willing to trade a vote for unbinding in exchange for their freedom.
According to multiple Rules Committee sources, the word is that [Kendall] Unruh, who has organized the anti-Trump rebellion, can’t get anywhere near 28 votes without the aid of [Ken] Cuccinelli, who is separately rallying support for changes to the Republican Party’s nominating process. Sources say Cuccinelli has realized Unruh won’t have the numbers even with him whipping on her behalf, and is open to brokering an agreement with Priebus under which he wins some modifications in exchange for backing down from the anti-Trump measures and allowing the rest of the Rules Committee meeting to proceed quickly and without the incessant offering of new amendments.
As of this writing, it’s unclear whether Priebus will be able to placate the #NeverTrumpers and prevent a marathon meeting. But either way, it appears that the rebellion has been contained. Donald J. Trump really is going to be the Republican nominee.