The fight over rules that could upend the Republican National Convention officially began in earnest Thursday, as delegates began circulating the first proposed rule for this year’s convention in Cleveland.
A draft rule, obtained by MSNBC, would effectively lock-in Donald Trump as the GOP nominee and kill the “Stop Trump” movement once and for all.
Anti-Trump forces have talked up rules that could let delegates vote against Trump, regardless of the primary results. But the new rule would stop any and all of those efforts with a silver bullet — freezing the 2012 rules so that no alternatives go into effect this year.
The proposal states “any amendments” to the party rules will not “take effect” until after this year’s convention ends.
If the proposal passes, it guarantees that if amendments designed to stop Trump, such as a “conscience clause” that would function as a delegate escape hatch, are also passed, those would only go into effect at “the 2020 National Convention."
Solomon Yue, an Oregon delegate on the powerful convention rules committee, is submitting the rule through the RNC’s formal “amendment proposal” process.
“This proposal would take politics out of the rule-making process,” he tells MSNBC, “and focus on unity so we could defeat Hillary Clinton in November.”
That sentiment could be a compelling argument for delegates heading to Cleveland. Even Trump’s detractors within the RNC have said it would be unfair to change the rules in the middle of the game.
“My solution is very, very simple,” Yue said. He tells MSNBC that he has not endorsed any candidate in the GOP presidential race.
In order to pass, Yue’s amendment would need a majority of delegates on the 112-member rules committee. The committee meets on Thursday and Friday before the convention, and then sends its proposed rules to the entire convention, for an up or down vote by all delegates.
The convention typically affirms whatever comes out of the committee. Historically, the committee tends to revise rules from previous conventions, rather than applying them automatically, so the approach is a departure from precedent.
If the committee passes Yue’s rule, or simply rejects all proposals designed to thwart Trump, there are few viable paths left for delegates seeking to stop the real estate mogul.
If a quarter of delegates on the committee back a rule, it is sent to the convention floor through an arcane process known as a “minority report.” In theory, a majority of delegates could choose that minority rule over the committee’s rule package, but that process has never been used to deny a presumptive nominee the nomination.