A rewrite of the GOP convention rules is on the cards this week, with the Republican National Committee potentially able to shift the balance of power to the delegates rather than party elites and completely reinvent the aim of the game. Backers say this will increase fairness and transparency around the process; critics say it could lead to utter chaos on a national stage and make the GOP (more of) a laughingstock; and Donald Trump is calling out “rigged!” But will throwing the rule book out the window really bring unity to the party and fix the divisive problems plaguing it during the presidential nomination process? The skeptic in you is probably saying “not a chance”…
These new rules have been proposed in the context of a possible contested convention in which the presidential candidates fail to secure the magic number of 1,237 delegates before July. Under the proposed rules all 2,472 delegates could raise objections or interrupt proceedings at the convention, leading to reasonable speculation that proceedings that could descend into the kind of mayhem that you usually only see in a super bad superhero sequel. However any rule-changing at this late point in the game could be seen as favoritism or manipulation of the process and the RNC will probably want to avoid that kind of criticism like a riot at a Trump rally. This sets the stage for a massive and potentially deadlocked fight in Cleveland that will open a door to bringing in a “white knight” candidate like House Speaker Paul Ryan to save the day and the party. Except that Ryan says that’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.
To the secret delight of Democrats, each week brings the GOP a little closer to the inevitability of a party-destroying fight between the Anti-Establishmentals and the NeverTrumpians. Never one to be the adult in the room, Trump isn’t hesitating at crying “foul play!” in the face of his shrinking odds of winning all of the remaining votes in time, especially in light of Ted Cruz’s organizational advantage. But with the anti-Trump movement very reluctant to settle for the lesser of two evils, and with Trump’s recent sweep of New York and very likely conquest of the rest of the east coast, it may just be too late to change anything. And that means the party could be headed in a very hairy direction.
Feel like the odds are stacked against you? Movie for your mood: The Martian