The #NeverTrump movement is dead. Squashed, as it were, by a new party rule.
A 77-21 vote in the RNC Rules committee Thursday effectively banned “conscience voting” for delegates to the Convention, ending the movement among delegates to vote for someone, anyone, other than Donald Trump.
The movement was spearheaded by Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh and a variety of outside organizations, including Free The Delegates 2016 and Our Principles PAC. Unruh and company strove to encourage delegates to vote their conscience at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, next week. The effort would, ideally, lead to a delegate revolt to nominate another Republican leader: Ted Cruz, John Kasich, or even Paul Ryan.
However, after a brief hearing, the RNC Rules Committee passed a resolution prohibiting any language with the intent of unbinding delegates.
Delegates to the convention are typically bound, meaning that they are required to vote as the state parties direct per the primary or caucus vote. Otherwise, under “Rule 16,” the delegate votes would not be counted toward the nomination process.
The committee vote comes days after a federal court in Virginia ruled that the state cannot enforce delegate-binding laws, relaxing legal statutes and penalties for rebellious delegates. However, ultimate authority regarding Convention protocol lies with the RNC Rules Committee. ‘
Even with this in mind, the Republican anti-Trump movement has been strong, spending millions on educating voters and delegates about their rights and against Trump.
(To read IVN’s extensive background on the delegate revolt and #NeverTrump, click here.)
So what does this mean, both for Republicans and the wider electorate?
Although the movement has been dealt a heavy blow, it’s still possible that anti-Trump sentiment will appear at the convention, especially with his lukewarm support — and significant opposition — among mainstream Republicans and independents. Delegates truly committed to vote against Trump — like Unruh — might still make a stink.
On the other hand, this rule also effectively cements Trump as the nominee, as his only meaningful opposition within the party has been swept aside. Continued opposition could now effortlessly be brushed off as well. Resistance, at this point, is futile.
Therefore, mainstream Republicans and others hesitant to board the Trump train may be looking outside the party for a candidate to support. In addition, the recently adopted Republican platform for 2016 may be tough to swallow for many voters, pushing would-be Republicans into the fray.
Johnson, Stein, and even Hillary should be ready to see a boost in support following the convention. Otherwise, Republicans will just have to grin and bear falling in line behind a Trump nomination.
Photo Source: Salon