Donald Trump is the last candidate standing in the Republican Primary Election. This became evident with the withdrawals from both Ted Cruz and John Kasich in wake of last week’s primary in Indiana. So, does this means Trump will become the Republicans’ candidate for President? Not necessarily…
Normally, when a candidate either reaches over half of the delegates or he/she is the last candidate left in the race, this candidate will be the unofficial (or presumptive) nominee for the party. Then, the party’s national convention in July will be a simple ceremonial ritual where the candidate will officially be announced as the party’s nominee for president. However, even though Trump has no challenger to get over half of the Republican delegates before the Nation convention in July, thus, ruling out a brokered convention in the traditional sense, the matter is not over yet. The reason for this is that Donald Trump is so unpopular among the Republican establishment and the party’s base. Hence, they will do whatever they can to get another nominee – a more conservative and establishment-friendly one.
Yet, as mentioned there is no way to stop Trump from getting the 1237 (just above half) pledged delegates that would normally guarantee getting the nomination. However, the Republican Party seems to still have two other options – though, both are risky and highly controversial. The first option is to find an independent/third party candidate to support instead of Trump. This could be Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan (pictured above), who were the names on the Republican ticket for the presidential election in 2012. Or it could be a candidate from outside the party, who’s policies are more conservative and less dividing compared to Trump’s. Yet, in either case it would seem very unlikely that such a candidate would stand a chance in the general election. Furthermore, the scenario would almost guarantee a Democratic victory, since this candidate and Trump would share many of the same voters. In other words, just the consideration of doing this, which would literally hand the Democrats the presidency, shows how much the Republican Party despises Trump and fears his influence on the party’s future.
The second option is also risky and, arguably, even more controversial. It is possible that the Republican Party’s establishment can find or conjure a loophole that would unbind the delegates from each states – meaning they can vote for whomever they want with no regards to the voting results in their states. Erling “Curly” Haugland, who has served on the Republican National committee since 1999, has long argued in favor of this controversial loophole. However, going against the will of the voters seems like a dangerous path for any political party. This again shows how desperate the party top is to get rid of Trump. Whether or not the Republican Party’s establishment will take advantage of either of these options remains to be seen – However, this could be a very chaotic summer for the Republican Party and maybe the most important in over a century.