Possibility of contested convention looms for GOP

Possibility of contested convention looms for GOP

Graphic by Channing Smith '17

The Republican National Convention may be holding its first contested convention since 1976 from July 18 to 21. A contested convention occurs when no single nominee has obtained the necessary number of delegates in order to secure the nomination. According to Politico, the Republican nominee would need 1,237 delegates for nomination, and with only 882 delegates left up for grabs, even frontrunner Donald Trump may not meet the threshold.

“I think a contested convention would shake the Republican Party at its foundation,” Nicole Kiker ’17 said. “No matter which candidate was nominated, it would create a fractured constituency for the [party] because a large proportion of voters would be disappointed with the outcome.”

In the event that none of the nominees reach 1,237 delegates, a contested convention will take place in Cleveland, Ohio. Delegates will vote by secret ballot and will continue to do so until a candidate wins a majority of delegates. Between rounds, candidates and their supporters will be busy trying to win votes.

Since Ted Cruz’s wins in Wisconsin and Utah, which put him at 517 delegates compared to Trump’s 743, the possibility of a contested convention has increased. However, not all Staples students believe that it will occur.

“Trump is rather moderate compared to Cruz, so I do believe he will win nearly all of the Northern states,” David Qiu ’16 said. “The chances of a contested convention are very slim.”

Qiu is one of Trump’s supporters who does not want to see a contested convention take place. He sees Trump’s nomination as a way for the Republican Party to “fall in line,” fixing the splinters that he sees in the party.

Harrison King ’16 supports this view as well, as he sees Trump as the people’s  candidate. ”Due to his anti-establishment campaign, [he has pulled] millions of voters out of the shadows,” King said. “I think you are going to see some pissed off people if Trump does not get the nomination.”

Even those who don’t support Trump have reservations about a contested convention, as they believe that it undermines the democratic process.

“I think it’s super ironic as far as Republicans go because they keep screaming that Obama shouldn’t elect a judge because the people’s voice is important,” Jeffrey Shepard ’18 said. “But then in a contested convention, Republican leaders basically deny the voice of the people and choose who the contestant is going to be themselves.”

Even if the GOP goes to a contested convention, there is still a barrier in the way for some of the candidates. The 2012 Republican National Convention introduced a rule, referred to as the “eight state rule,” which requires presidential candidates to win a majority of delegates in at least eight states in order to receive the nomination.

“Therefore, candidates like John Kasich, or talked about Paul Ryan, cannot be a nominee,” King said.

Whether or not a contested convention occurs, many believe that the GOP candidate’s outcome in the general election looks particularly grim.

“Overall, I’m a little disappointed how this election has reached an immaturity level so low,” Drew Cohen ’16 said. “I am a Republican, but I definitely think that Hillary Clinton is gonna end up winning in the end of all of it.”