Trump Can Still Be Stopped

Trump immigration

Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, makes the argument today in The Washington Post.  It is an interesting piece.

Here is a taste:

The Republican National Convention Rules Committee has almost unlimited power to change the rules by which the delegates vote. It could use that power to prevent Trump from being nominated.

The committee will be selected from delegates to the convention. But those delegates are often not genuine supporters of the candidate they are officially bound to vote for, and are certainly not required to follow the candidates’ instructions as they make decisions on the rules. I am very far from optimistic that the Rules Committee will block Trump. But it certainly will have the power to do so, even if not the will.

One possible approach is to unbind all delegates by eliminating the requirement that they vote for the candidate they are pledged to on the first ballot, thereby instantly creating a contested convention. But the Rules Committee could go even further than this, and simply exclude Trump from consideration entirely. It could do so by adopting a rule banning consideration of candidates who resort to threats of violence or condone violence by their supporters. Trump has threatened “riots” if he does not get his way at the convention and repeatedly condoned violence by his supporters against even nonviolent protestors. If there has not been a rule against such behavior in the past, it may be because, until this year, no one imagined that a candidate who condones violence in the political process could get so close to the nomination.

After losing the Republican primary in Indiana, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said he was “leaving it all on the field.” GOP front-runner Donald Trump commended Cruz, calling him “a tough, smart competitor” – a complete reversal from the insults he had been using earlier in the day. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)

Blocking Trump at the convention is just one of several strategies that his opponents on the political right still have available to them, if they cannot stomach supporting Hillary Clinton (in my view, still a distinctly lesser evil than Trump). Other options include mounting a conservative third party challenge, or supporting the likely Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson, who is far more in tune with constitutionalist, limited government principles than Trump is every likely to be, and far better qualified to be president. Such third-party candidates are unlikely to prevail. But they could deny Trump the White House, remind people that Trump is not the sole face of the right side of the US political spectrum, and provide a haven for those conservatives and libertarians who refuse to be complicit in Trump’s rise.

Somin also makes the case that such a move would not be inconsistent with “democratic values.”  Read the entire post here.