Here is the scenario. First, if Senator Rubio loses loses his home state of Florida to Trump and Governor Kasich loses his home state of Ohio, then the fat lady has sung, the barn door is closed, that’s all she wrote, Trump wins the Republican party’s presidential nomination. Frankly, that is the most likely thing to happen, but let’s save the discussion of what that means for the future of the GOP and the conservative movement as the subject for another day.
However, if Rubio and Kasich win, then the Republican nominee will be decided on the third ballot at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July – since I’m prognosticating I’ll call it July 23rd – yes, in overtime, late on Saturday afternoon.
Hey, if Donald Trump predicts he can make Mexico pay to build a wall along our southern border, I can predict how the convention plays out.
First, this notion is predicated on Rubio and Kasich carrying their “winner take all” home states. That would deprive Donald Trump of the delegates needed to win. But Kasich, Cruz nor Rubio themselves will not have enough delegates to win the nomination themselves. Right now it looks like Kasich may carry Ohio, but Rubio is fading fast in Florida – so this may be a wasted 700 words.
Side note, but an important one for later; under current party rules of the convention to have your name placed in nomination you must have the majority of delegates from eight states. Not the plurality… The majority. Right now only Trump meets that test – and right on the number. Now that is a rule that will likely be changed, and how it will be changes will have intrigue on its own. Being on the rules committee may be more valuable to electing the next president than writing a $1M check to a Super PAC.
If Trump fails to get the necessary number of delegates, we head into unchartered waters. Pundits and reporters gleefully pray for a “brokered” convention – but the days of patronage and power brokers are long gone. Can anyone envision Governor Branstad telling Cruz delegate Bob VanderPlaats who to vote for? Exactly my point. For Iowa delegates, they are all bound by our state party rules to cast our proportional vote based on the caucus results. But after that, they are all free agents free to support whomever they want – or honor whatever deals they make.
After the first ballot, the convention essentially becomes the worlds largest deliberative body. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will preside, and for the first time in sixty years that role will be much more than ceremonial. For instance – how long will he let the conventioneers talk among themselves and try to settle on a candidate before he calls for the next round of nominations and balloting?
My prediction is that if Trump can’t win on the first ballot, then none of the candidates that campaigned for your caucus support will be the nominee, certainly not on the second ballot – but it may take a failed attempt to prove that. It’s human nature. If the delegates and power brokers try to coalesce around a Rubio (assuming he is still around), Kasich or Cruz, the Trump supporters will fight like crazy. And odds are neither a Cruz, Kasich or Rubio will lay down to support the other.
So now we are into overtime. The hotel reservations have expired, and the delegates should have been headed home the day before. Folks are doubled up in any room they can find, and they are already trying to figure out if they can get home Sunday so they can make it to work on Monday – they’ve already taken a week off to be in Cleveland and can’t be gone a second week.
Since the candidates will never agree to bow out, someone finally suggests a consensus candidate. Someone unbloodied by the primary, yet adequately vetted to avoid any October surprises. It won’t be Mitt Romney – any hope he held for that came to an abrupt end last week when he sought to expose Trump as a “fraud” and a “phony”. So who else can bring together the various elements of the party? The guy who is already doing it – Paul Ryan.
Before the Trump supporters scream that its unfair and the nomination is being stolen, or hijack; understand that these are the rules. All of the candidates knew them before they started. It’s the way the process is supposed to work. We do not have a national primary – we have a state by state process selecting delegates to our respective conventions, and those delegates have responsibilities and power. I’m not saying there will not be consequences – people will certainly be angry. But no one should cry foul if Trump fails to get the 1,237 delegates required.
My caveat to this is should Trump not have the delegates to win on the first ballot, Trump could sow it up on the second ballot by offering the Veep slot to Cruz; however, considering Trump believes Cruz is a Canadian not eligible to serve that seems to be a remote possibility.