Yesterday, it became clear on the floor of the convention that the wounds from the hard-fought GOP primaries have not healed. To shouts of “Dump Trump,” a last-gasp, Hail Mary effort to derail Donald Trump’s nomination arose in a procedural vote during the business session that takes place every day of the convention – largely out of the eye of TV and the rest of the media.
A petition from a number of states was presented to the convention chairman calling for a roll-call vote on convention rules. Sparing you the arcane details, the roll-call vote, if it had happened, would have revealed the remaining lack of unity in the GOP regarding Donald Trump and would likely have been embarrassing.
The convention chairman ruled that two of the states had withdrawn their petitions, putting the effort shy of the number of states necessary to force the roll-call vote.
The floor erupted in howls of protest.
As the business session was ending, I went on the floor and spoke with members of the Texas delegation – one of the delegations loudly calling for the roll-call.
Jeremiah Hunter and Wes Brumit of Longview took a few minutes to visit with me, which I appreciated.
They made it quite clear that they do not support Donald Trump and went so far as to say that they will not vote for him.
“Not voting for Trump is tantamount to voting for Hillary,” I said. “Would you rather have Hillary?”
No, they said. But principles matter and they just can’t get behind Donald Trump.
Their abstention will probably not matter in Texas. Everyone is rather certain that Trump will win Texas’s 38 electoral votes rather easily.
But similar abstentions in states like Virginia and, of course, Ohio and Florida, could make the critical difference between a Trump victory and a Clinton victory.
My own oft-stated preferences notwithstanding, speaking purely as a political clinician, I cannot imagine how the Never Trumpers can hold to their position.
If you are a nominal Republican, how is it possible for you to take any position that might lead to a Hillary Clinton presidency. If you’re a Republican, you might fear that a Trump presidency would be a disaster.
But, being a Republican, you can only view a Hillary Clinton presidency as a catastrophe. As I have so often done, I recall Dr. Thomas Sowell’s quote when he was asked why he was supporting John McCain – whom he did not like – over Barack Obama. “Because I prefer disaster to catastrophe,” he said.
So another unusual twist in this most unusual presidential election year.
Usually, by the time everyone gets to the convention, it’s all hands on deck for the nominee.
But not this year.
Despite a universally loathed Democratic opponent, a significant number of Republicans are here at the convention openly opposing the nominee.
Come to enough of these things and occasionally, you’ll see something new.