By Hannah Schultz, International Correspondent
Many members of the GOP have recently decided it’s time to block Donald Trump from the Republican presidential nomination after a controversial few weeks in the presidential race.
“All of a sudden, everybody is saying ‘Oh My God—the house is burning down we should have done something before it got this far,’” said Republican lobbyist and former congressman Vin Weber to CNN.
This anti-Trump campaign has even united major political donors in a fight to discredit the billionaire.
“You have all these people who backed different candidates, and now they are uniting,” said Brian Baker, a political adviser to the Ricketts family—who provided over $2 million dollars to a group meant to highlight Trump’s past liberal leanings—to the New York Times. “These are people who backed Senator Cruz, Governor Kasich, Governor Christie, Senator Rubio—all stripes. And they are all conservatives.”
The goal is of this anti-Trump movement is to deprive Trump of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination. Trump is the only candidate with hopes of winning the majority of delegates—half plus one—which is required to win the first ballot. However, if Trump does not receive a majority, the Republican National Convention in July will be a brokered, or an open, convention.
According to the Republican National Committee, on the first ballot, delegates from all states and territories except Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and a few from Louisiana must vote for the candidate who won their support on the day of their state’s primary or caucus. If there is no majority, there will be a second ballot in which 55 percent of the states’ delegates are free to vote for a different candidate. This caveat would allow the GOP to block Trump’s bid for the Republican presidential candidate.
In recent years, the RNC has very rarely even come close to a brokered convention and the RNC has become more of an opportunity for media coverage than a true decisive factor in the presidential bid. That being said, this wouldn’t be the first time the GOP had to vote more than once. A CNN article stated that Abraham Lincoln was not nominated until the third ballot at the RNC.
The GOP’s attempts to block Trump have been met by intense opposition from Trump and members of his campaign. Trump warned the GOP on CNN’s “New Day” that the convention could deteriorate into a “riot” if he is blocked from power.
“I will tell you this, if the Republican Party comes into that convention and jimmies with the rules and takes away the will of the people, the will of the Republicans and the Democrats and Independents who voted for Mr. Trump, I will take off my credentials, I will leave the floor of that convention, and I will leave the Republican Party forever,” Sam Clovis, a national co-chair for Trump’s campaign, said to CNN.
However, after a meeting of prominent conservatives in Washington, it has been decided that there is a consensus, if not among American voters, then among the GOP leaders: There was “definitely a consensus of not wanting Donald Trump,” said Deborah DeMoss Fonseca, a former aide to late Sen. Jesse Helms.
The meeting only cemented general unrest within the party about Trump’s controversial Republican campaign. “I will vote for Senator Cruz and I encourage others to do so as well, so that we can have an open convention and nominate a Republican,” Mitt Romney, an emerging figurehead in the “Never Trump” movement, wrote in a Facebook post.
According to the New York Times, discussions have even surfaced about pushing for a Libertarian or independent nominee on the ballot, names such as Rick Perry being considered as contenders to oppose Trump in a last-ditch third-party bid.
“We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party,” conservative activist Erick Erickson said in a statement after the Washington meeting. “It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.”