Delegates: Follow Your Conscience and Vote Trump
For months, everyone thought that the Republican National Convention – now less than two weeks away – would be a contested mess. Donald Trump would go into Cleveland with the delegate lead, but he wouldn’t have enough to win on the first ballot. At that point, someone like Ted Cruz would work his magic and wrest the nomination away from the people’s first choice. What would happen then? Well, that was never quite so clear.
But then Trump did what everyone assumed that he could not do. He cracked through that 35% ceiling and proved that, even with the competition down to one or two, he could win state primaries decisively. Cruz and John Kasich headed for the hills, and Trump soared way past 1,237 to become the undisputed presumptive nominee.
Well, depending on your definition of “undisputed.”
Because even though Trump has more than enough pledged delegates to easily win the nomination on the first ballot, there is still a strong movement to keep that scenario from playing out. One group, under the moniker “Free the Delegates,” is encouraging pledged delegates to forget about party rules and instead vote with their hearts.
Another group, called “Delegates Unbound,” just released an ad begging the party to find another nominee. The spot, which contrasts statements made by Trump and former President Ronald Reagan, ends with a direct plea: GOP Delegates: Follow your conscience.
That’s the theme of these campaigns – that regardless of how the people voted, delegates need not feel pressured to abide by their pledges. Delegates in Virginia have actually sued the state, saying that rules binding delegates to a candidate are unconstitutional.
Indeed, a delegate should absolutely let their conscience be their guide when it comes to voting at the convention. And if they have any belief in democracy whatsoever, their conscience should push them to vote for Donald Trump.
There are circumstances where a revolt like this would be appropriate. For some mad reason, Republican voters elected a true psychopath as the nominee. A child molester. A hippopotamus. A 13-year-old Little League star. A Democrat. Sure, in those cases, the delegates might be justified in telling the voters: Yeah, not sure what you were thinking this time around, but we’re going to have to step in.
These anti-Trump forces want us to believe that this is exactly the situation we’re facing. That’s ridiculous. Trump is perfectly qualified to be president. His track-record of business success speaks for itself. No, he’s not the “perfect conservative.” And he’s certainly not the perfect “establishment Republican.” And he’s plenty controversial. But while these may be reasons for some to wish he wasn’t the nominee, they are not good enough to justify voiding 14 million votes.
If “I don’t like him” is the only reason you need to betray the will of the people, then we may as well do away with the primaries altogether. If these delegates really think about it, they’ll see that the conscience-driven choice is to fulfill their duties.