Vox Populi
A Letter to the Editor

Vox Populi 6 April 2016
on GOP Rules

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

by Lance Menthe

While I don't personally support this idea, if those who oppose Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention mount a serious attempt to alter the minutiae of Rule 40, I wonder if those who support Trump might then make a simple counterproposal: that Rule 40(d) and/or (e) be changed to award the nomination to the winner of the plurality of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention.

This counterproposal has the advantages of familiarity and simplicity: it mirrors how most American elections are conducted and will very likely require only one ballot. If it looks like Trump will fall short of the 1237 votes required for a simple majority, I strongly suspect his campaign will promote this idea as an "obvious" and "fair" solution. It has the further advantage that it would relegate all other rules disputes to irrelevancy.

Lance Menthe

Mr. Berg-Andersson responds:

Well, the main issue here- the one that would most determine the very efficacy of just such a proposal for a rules change (or, for that matter, any other potential amendment moved on the floor of the Convention during consideration of the report of the Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Business)- would be in regards to just which presidential contender (or, perhaps, a temporary coalition of otherwise adversarial presidential contenders [though the very history of National Conventions suggests that rivals for the same presidential nomination tend to have great difficulty working in a fully coordinated manner]) might have "control" (in quotes here because it is, indeed, a term used most advisedly within the scenario of a contested Convention) of at least 1237 delegates.

One of the most interesting things to watch for- should a contested GOP Convention actually emerge in Cleveland come this 18 July- would be just how many delegates "bound" to vote for presidential contender X on at least a First Ballot (I'm presuming, as I always have- except when playing "devil's advocate"- that such "binding", despite all that has been discussed on this website [including, obviously in these recent vox Populis] in the last couple weeks or so, will yet be adhered to during Roll Call of the States on Presidential Nomination) will instead really be supporters of presidential contenders Y or Z (thus, not "bound" to support presidential contender X on merely procedural matters, let alone voting for him on any and all ballots subsequent to the first one)...

put another way: can a presidential contender- whether claiming support of at least 1237 votes on a First Ballot re: the Republican presidential nomination or short of same- truly expect all of "his" delegates to also back any such proposed rules changes that might the better advance his actually gaining that nomination? Or will it all turn out to be much more like "herding cats"? The actual membership of the Convention Rules Committee- along with, obviously, what that committee might end up reporting out to the Convention as a whole- would, of course, loom quite large in this regard.


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