Although we are only about halfway through the primary season, it has already become fairly certain that there are only two scenarios left for the Republican Party. In the first, businessman Donald Trump will continue his streak and gain enough delegates to be nominated the party’s candidate. In the second, Donald Trump will not gain enough to be nominated outright and there will be a brokered convention in Cleveland this summer.
Both of those options now look to be a total disaster for the RNC.
“I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, because we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically. I think it would be — I think you’d have riots,” Trump told CNN’s ‘New Day,’ according to Politico.
He added, “Now, if you disenfranchise those people and you say, well I’m sorry but you’re 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen, I really do. I believe that. I wouldn’t lead it but I think bad things would happen.”
At this point, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the only candidate in the pool who still has the potential to win more delegates than Trump, although that possibility is highly unlikely. Ohio Governor John Kasich, the only non-outside establishment candidate who hasn’t dropped, still would be unable to get more delegates even if he took every single state left on the table. Both, at this point, appear to be working solely to either block Trump from hitting his delegate quota, or position himself on the off chance that Trump will simply decide he no longer wants to actually be in the race and quit.
A contested convention is a solution that may save the party, but is unlikely to benefit any candidate himself. Choosing to back either Cruz or Kasich when Trump had far more delegates means picking a candidate that was already bruised and rejected in the field.
Some former GOP leaders, like former Speaker of the House John Boehner, apparently already recognizing that fact, are touting the possibility of an outsider like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan being inserted at the last moment.
“If we don’t have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I’m for none of the above,” Boehner said. “They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I’m for none of the above. I’m for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.” After some blowback, Boehner has stepped back slightly, saying he would support Kasich on the first ballot and not bring Ryan up as an alternative until the second round of voting.
A Ryan floor nomination, or any scenario that doesn’t respect the vast number of delegates who support Trump, will result in chaos however, according to the frontrunner. Kasich, however, believes those threats are just more of the businessman’s bluster.
“It’s completely outrageous,” Kasich told ABC News. “For somebody running for president of the United States to say — to even imply — that there could be violence if he doesn’t get his way — you know, he’s not running for the presidency of WWE, he’s running for president of the United States…This kind of language is an outrage. And frankly, these kinds of things just get people very angry. He can get people thinking really crazy things.”
So is there any way out of the predicament without a floor fight, riots or a desperately divided GOP? Yes, says Erick Erickson, a conservative pundit who is pulling together a coalition of Republicans to stand together against a Trump nomination.
“We call for a unity ticket that unites the Republican Party. If that unity ticket is unable to get 1,237 delegates prior to the convention, we recognize that it took Abraham Lincoln three ballots at the Republican convention in 1860 to become the party’s nominee and if it is good enough for Lincoln, that process should be good enough for all the candidates without threats of riots,” he said in a statement. “We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot.”
According to CNN, that unity ticket would potentially involve a pairing of Cruz and Kasich, although it is unclear who would get which spot.
Would a unity ticket offer stop potential riots? Not if the history of Trump’s rallies are any indication. If his biggest supporters can’t stop lashing out at protesters while in their own space, it’s hard to believe they will respond calmly and peacefully when their candidate’s entire political future is on the line.