CLEVELAND – Within the last hour, we’ve seen allies of Donald Trump and Reince Priebus conduct a vote to test the strength of anti-Trump forces on the GOP convention rules committee – and those who want to block Trump’s nomination on Thursday came up short.
Nine hours after a first day of deliberations, the rules committee got down to a series of sensitive amendments that had been delayed while backroom negotiations proceeded. Throughout the day, many of the changes to the rules have been attempts to curtail the powers of Priebus, the RNC chairman.
Then came the proposal from Morton Blackwell, a Virginia delegate, who proposed stripping the Republican National Committee of all rule-making ability between national conventions. After much debate, Steve Duprey of New Hampshire, a fierce Priebus ally, called for an immediate recorded vote.
The proposal failed, 86 to 23. In order to produce a vote that would carry their movement to the convention floor next week, via a minority report, anti-Trump forces need 28 votes. That report could suggest a rule change to free delegates from their pledged support for presidential candidates who won their states’ primaries.
Immediately afterwards, Randy Evans of Atlanta, proposed shifting the rest of the rules committee’s business – including the question of unbinding delegates – to a later date. An uproar followed. “This is an outrage for the conservative grassroots,” Blackwell said.
Evans withdrew his motion. The rules committee has taken a break, but an evening session has now been scheduled. Then again, as soon as finished typing that, Reince Priebus paid a visit, so perhaps a deal is in the works: