BAYHAM: #FreeTheDelegates Lost…And That’s a Good Thing

As I have demonstrated in numerous columns, tweets, Facebook postings, and arguments over the past 13 months since Donald Trump glided down from the top of his building’s golden escalator and throughout his improbable helicopter ride to the Republican presidential nomination, I am not a supporter of Donald Trump.

I don’t so much hate the man like the #NeverTrump political puritans do, but have little confidence in his ability to win in November.

Any other Republican would be doing donuts around a scandal-tarred Hillary Clinton right now. Proving that he’s a “shot glass is half tremendous” kind of guy, the billionaire is spiking the football over numbers showing him tied with the Democratic nominee at 40%.

Forgive me if I don’t start staking off a spot along the inauguration parade route.

Scheme after scheme has been employed to stop Trump, from multimillion dollar Super PACs to clumsily crafted “divide and conquer” deals that only furthered Trump’s “they’re out to get me AND the wall” narrative to drafting a spoiler third party candidate who didn’t come off half-baked.

Free the Delegates was the last ditch and after a ridiculously long Rules Committee meeting the move to “deobligate” the delegates from their one real job, that being voting on the first ballot for the candidate they are supposed to represent, was overwhelmingly rejected.

Don’t get me wrong, if Ted Cruz had won Indiana, West Virginia, and Nebraska and muddied things up so much in the west that Trump would have been denied the threshold he needed to claim the nomination prior to the convention, I would have been ready to battle in the aisles of the Quicken Loans Arena for Ted Cruz or any consensus alternative to Trump not named Bush or Kasich.

Trump would have screamed (as if he needs reason to do so) that he got the most votes and thus is entitled to the nomination, even if he did not receive a majority. I would have respectfully disagreed with his position and voted for someone else until Trump won or the mystery conservative emerged.

I could live with myself denying Trump the nomination if he had garnered just a plurality.

But Trump won a majority under the rules, and after the unpledged delegates do what they are apt to do (chase after the winning side), Trump will have comfortably exceeded the threshold. And it doesn’t matter how many Democrats helped him win the nomination (I don’t recall the GOP establishment complaining over Thad Cochran using that playbook when he was on the ropes in Mississippi).

A lot of somebodies voted for this man in the caucuses and the primaries. In fact as he likes to remind people, a record number of somebodies did.

Engaging in a rule change to weaponize “bogus delegates” to set aside the results of over 50 primaries and caucuses would be criminal. And they wouldn’t just be robbing Trump but the 13 million who voted for him.

It would be foolish to think for one second that these individuals would just go along and accept an underhanded candidate swap. While Marco Rubio was struggling to pack hotel ballrooms, Trump was packing basketball arenas- with people lining up 4 hours in advance.

And for party leaders to declare in the media that THEY know more than the common voter is the kind of arrogance that has damaged the Republican brand.

The appeals to conscience were disingenuous. If a party leader had that much of a problem with Trump, then she should have opted to watch the convention on CSPAN instead of in a floor seat in Cleveland. Granted that option doesn’t come with a fancy ducal.

The Rules Committee rightfully scuttled by a huge margin the attempt to “free the delegates” and thus “save the primaries.”

The anti-Trump forces in the Republican Party may very well be proven right about Trump as a candidate when the numbers begin to trickle in on election night.

Trump could implode and take the US Senate down with him. And that would be most unfortunate.

But the people have not only spoken but within the GOP, largely stand behind him. The drive to flip the nomination through procedures and other parliamentary machinations lacks broad support. The GOP would not necessarily be trading out a loser for winner, but one wreck with a more politically correct flaming pile of debris.

Is it really worth risking the destruction of one of our nation’s two great political parties over an ugly fight about who gets the honor of lying in the casket?

Barack Obama’s famous adage about elections having consequences could ring painfully true for conservatives on November 8th.

And if that does come to pass, at least it will have been with the consent of the people, from start to finish.

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