Republican officials and leading figures in the party’s establishment are preparing for the possibility of a brokered convention as businessman Donald Trump continues to sit atop the polls in the GOP presidential race.
More than 20 of them convened Monday near the Capitol for a dinner held by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and the prospect of Trump nearing next year’s nominating convention in Cleveland with a significant number of delegates dominated the discussion, according to five people familiar with the meeting.
Weighing in on that scenario as Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listened, several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork for a floor fight in which the GOP’s mainstream wing could coalesce around an alternative, the people said.
The development represents a major shift for veteran Republican strategists, who until this month had spoken of a brokered convention only in the most hypothetical terms — and had tried to encourage a drama-free nomination by limiting debates and setting an earlier convention date.
Now, those same leaders see a floor fight as a real possibility. And so does Trump, who said in an interview last week that he, too, is preparing.
Because of the sensitivity of the topic — and because they are wary of saying something that, if leaked, would provoke Trump to bolt the party and mount an independent bid — Priebus and McConnell were mostly quiet during the back-and-forth. They did not signal support for an overt anti-Trump effort.
But near the end, McConnell and Priebus acknowledged to the group that a deadlocked convention is something the party should prepare for, both institutionally within the RNC and politically at all levels in the coming months.
This is a 100% bluff in response to Trump's 100% bluff that he's going to run a third party campaign. Both Trump and the GOP establishment are full of crap here. If the GOP leadership had some magic by-law that rendered primary/caucus votes to be null and void, they would have used it long before now.
This is all for show, because it keeps people interested, and those who back the GOP leaders in Washington will donate to the RNC, and those who don't will donate to Trump, and both sides win in this case.
Besides, Trump winning primary states is exactly what's going to happen. Trump knows it so he won't drop out of the GOP side. The GOP knows it so they can't cut him off yet.
It's a game, and Republicans are happy to play. Sadly, so is our media.