Them’s the rules

 

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The Republican National Convention is the convention that convenes every four years, in a  presidential election year, for the GOP to formally nominate a presidential candidate for the general election as well as adopt an official platform for the campaign.  The RNC has a set of rules and guidelines that it presents at every convention, in order to properly select a nominee.  This selection process, more or less, has been the processed followed by the Republican party since 1856.

Typically, if a candidate receives the majority (50%+1) of the delegate selection prior to convention, the RNC serves merely as a formality to introduce the election year candidate to the party and line out a party platform. However, when no candidate crosses this threshold, the RNC becomes more than a formality, and the selection process for the nominee adopts specific convention rules on deciding a nominee. This is called a contested convention.

In a contested convention, there are rounds of voting by delegates nominated at the state/county/district/at-large level toward the delegate they are bound to by state rules.  If there is no consensus for a candidate in a contested convention, the RNC would move to a brokered convention. This is where the rules committee can adjust rules to fit the atmosphere, and  every candidate can broker deals with delegates in a back-room style in order to secure the majority of delegates needed and win the nomination.

What is important here to note is that, in a brokered convention, the candidate is still responsible for gaining the delegates needed to win the nomination, since they failed to in the primary season. Basically, the Convention rules allow the voters to choose the nominee by majority, and if that does not occur, then the delegates will choose the nominee at convention.  This process has been followed for years, much of it dating back to the first convention ever held in 1856.

These are the basic rules, folks, and these are the rules that the RNC will follow in 2016.

Contrary to what Trump supporters may want to believe, Donald Trump is essentially demanding that the rules be either ignored or changed to benefit him if he does not secure the nomination outright by amassing 50%+1 delegates.  That’s right. He wants to circumvent the rules and be automatically handed the nomination if he reaches a plurality, but not the majority. This is not how the RNC operates, though, and voters need to understand what Trump is demanding (now, with threats of riots )is a rule change.

Candidates cannot outright demand a rule change. Candidates, like both Trump and Cruz have stated, cannot promise a rule change at convention. These claims are simply nothing more than campaigns for themselves, in an attempt to secure a nomination before convention. They are not factual, and they are not within the control of candidates directly. Committee members can act on behalf of candidates, but this is not their decision to make outright.

The controversy that is surrounding talks of a contested or brokered convention at the 2016 Republican National Convention shouldn’t even exist, because each candidate still maintains the responsibility to secure the needed number of delegates before the actual convention – whether it be by an outright allocation of 50%+1 delegates, securing that number in a contested convention vote, or brokering deals that give them that number in a brokered convention.

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