An Illinois radio host and three Republican delegates are trying to gin up support for unbinding delegates on the first round of voting at the party’s convention in July. The goal is to deny Donald Trump the nomination, effectively voiding the results of the 2016 primary.
The idea is, at best, a complete long shot because it would require the 112-member convention rules committee to agree to such a change, and delegates on the convention floor to support it as well.
Radio host Ian Bayne unveiled the idea, labeled Save Our Party, last Friday after Trump’s last GOP opponent dropped out. Bayne says he has begun reaching out to delegates via phone and email to discuss ways to unbind delegates. Currently, most states require their delegates to vote according to the results of their state’s primary or caucus.
“What we’re looking to do is collect as many delegates as possible to hold out until such time that everyone could be unbound, so there’s a first ballot, a second ballot, whatever ballot — whatever the procedure — whatever it is going on,” Bayne told the Daily Caller. “There are so many people with different ideas just to say we’re all going to come back, and we’re going to make a decision on somebody.”
Bayne, a supporter of Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] during the primary, believes with enough time and support, he and his team can pull together a movement of GOP delegates, mandated to vote for Trump on the first ballot, who are not really supporters of the New York developer. He hopes to deny Trump the required 1,237 votes to win the nomination.
RNC Standing Rules Committee members avoided installing any proposed changes to their rules, even ones that had no relation to the convention, last month during their spring meeting in Florida out of fear of the perception that party insiders were trying to torpedo Trump’s candidacy.
Longtime rules committee member Morton Blackwell cautioned in April that there are only two ways rules can be amended going forward: either by “unanimous consent of all the players” or “after a ferocious rules battle which might sunder the party.”
Blackwell added, “Now you can have a pretty good idea as to who will be helped and who will be hurt and anybody who perceives that he’s going to be hurt is going to loudly and justifiably cry foul and that it’s not fair.”
According to the website, along with Bayne, the group’s spokesman, three Illinois delegates are listed in the Save our Party Leadership Committee: Chris Gramm, Esq., Patrick Harlan, and David Hullinger.
The site explains that the “likely nominee has compromised himself so much due to poor campaign practice that alternative action must be debated.” The proclamation continues:
Therefore, we will-
Organize separately as delegates to the 2016 Republican convention at an undisclosed location until such a time as we can not be held to a vote for any particular candidate;
Work together to agree upon an acceptable nominee that will, above all else, nominate a member of the Supreme Court that will serve in the spirit of our founding documents;
Nominate a Republican candidate that will serve as a caretaker of our Constitution and our rule of law for a period of 4 years;
We, as Delegates, are the last line of defense, and we will act within our authority to live up to that responsibility.
— Ian Bayne (@ianbayneisright) May 6, 2016
“We just started and the people that have called personally, all of them, have said they’re signing up, but right now we’re doing mass mailings to people and you have a couple of people asking for more information about it,” Bayne said noting some delegates are unsure where he is coming from initially.
Although Bayne supported Cruz, he says that “save our party” is not connected to any particular candidate.
“We’re not saying we hate Trump. We’re not saying we love Trump. We’re not saying we want Cruz. We’re not saying anything other than, ‘Let’s unbound everybody and just add delegates,'” he told TheDC.
What has been the response so far?
“We have some people who are saying, ‘Hey, right now it’s a little precarious, but if it’s a real thing, count me in,'” Bayne explained, saying that no list of interested delegates will be made public.
One delegate disillusioned with Trump told TheDC that there are delegates who wonder what the next steps are.
“The whole Cruz and Kasich pulling out before the nomination happened faster than we thought and so people right now are kind of shell shocked and not sure what to do,” said the delegate. “And Trump, rather than trying to unify the party, has doubled down and gone into insult bully mode trying to browbeat us.”
The odds are currently against Bayne and those helping him organize. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called for all Republicans to unify behind Trump, the party’s presumptive nominee. Additionally, The New York Times reports that the RNC sent out a memo to all staff saying anyone who cannot get behind Trump’s candidacy should pack up their things and resign. The RNC later denied that such an ultimatum was ever made of its personnel.
In the meantime, House Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear he is not ready to jump on to Trump’s train as a result of his discomfort with some of the New York businessman’s policy stances. Trump threatened to attempt to remove Ryan as chairman of the convention if the speaker did not support him.
Without the support of the RNC or any candidate’s campaign, Bayne and his leadership committee are likely to come across obstacles that include delegate resistance, due to fear of backlash, or being outmaneuvered by those who may use vast resources to quickly squash the plan intended to unbind delegates on the first ballot.
“I think it exclusively depends on what Trump does in the next few weeks. If he goes on the road he’s going, I think there is going to be a lot more people,” said the GOP delegate of the possibility that Save Our Party could be successful.
“The beauty of what we’re doing is, it’s just a grassroots movement. So, we’re just people. We have nothing to lose. We’re just doing what we’re doing and as far as Paul Ryan is concerned, I just don’t think it will be a consideration if this becomes a real threat to him,” Bayne said. “If I’m [Trump], that’s the last thing I’m worried about.”
Unlike others in the Republican Party, Bayne shows no support for the idea of running a third party candidate.
“I’m concerned right now that party resources are into third parties and other stupid ideas,” he said. “That’s why I said I will protect the names of these people who say, ‘We are open to this.’ It’ll take time, because … once it starts, it’s going to be kinda like a tidal wave.”