Desperate to avert the impending reality that Donald Trump will be named the Republican Party's presidential nominee, some party leaders have been agitating to block him at the GOP convention in Cleveland. Having failed to get their act together to derail Trump at the ballot box, they now hope against hope that they can turn the convention from the traditional coronation into that rare, political unicorn: the contested convention.
No less a figure than former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney laid out a scenario last week where Trump could be denied the nomination at the convention. It requires the candidates remaining in the race to band together and Republican primary voters to begin to cast their vote strategically in favor of whoever can block Trump. He urged Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to put ego aside and work toward one goal: stopping Trump.
"Given the current delegate selection process, that means that I'd vote for Marco Rubio in Florida and for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whoever has the best chance to beat Mr. Trump in a given state," Romney said. He reiterated again Friday that this was a scenario where he believed Trump could be stopped, while Kasich told attendees at a conservative confab that a contested convention is where this race is headed.
Political scientists, political junkies and political reporters have dreamed about contested conventions for years. Now they are in the grips of the contested convention fantasy made suddenly real by Romney. But experts on the convention process and the complicated politics surrounding such a move argue it will be exceedingly difficult to stop Trump at the convention -- and gravely damaging to Republican electoral prospects in the fall and perhaps beyond, even if it is successful in preventing Trump from the securing the nomination.
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