The GOP nominating convention in a couple months may be what is termed “open,” and some Trump supporters are not responding well to that news. In an open, also known as contested, convention, the nominee is not predetermined going into the event itself. Rather, the respective candidates all make their pitches to the delegates on the convention floor, who then decide who to support.
Trump has very low chances of making it out on top in such a scenario. The last time this sort of thing happened, back in 1976, some who were there say, looking back on it, that it was “riotous.” People from the respective campaigns went nuts vying for every last delegate’s vote.
The chances for this potentially “riotous” convention this year have fluctuated considerably. After US Senator Ted Cruz won the Wisconsin primary, they went up; and vice versa after Donald Trump won New York last week. The key to why it may be open is the fact that currently Trump is running with 95% of his number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. (Throughout the primary cycle, the candidates accumulate delegates whose support his pledged at the convention. In an open convention, all those pledges are switched off.)
95% is not 100%. And, to clinch the nomination before the convention, preventing “openness,” with a solid majority of GOP delegates, Trump needs 100%. Some Trump supporters are apparently taking, or at least threatening to take, this matter into their own hands.
Chairman of the Colorado GOP Steve House said in the days following the final allocation of his state’s pledged delegates- where Trump suffered a total loss- that he and his family were receiving death threats. He said,
“Death threats over running a caucus instead of a primary because it is the law here and over the fact that one candidate had a better strategy and a much bigger team on the field. Shame on the people who think somehow that it is right to threaten me and my family over not liking the outcome of an election.”
The Colorado GOP results were controversial both because Colorado did not actually hold a popular level primary election, as House noted, and then, on top of that, after Trump’s shutout, the state GOP Twitter account sent out a “#NeverTrump” tweet. That tweet was promptly removed and claimed to be a mistake.
House wasn’t the only one to report such dangers. An anonymous GOP leader said, “A Trump supporter recently got in my face and threatened ‘bloodshed’ at the national convention and said he would ‘meet me at the barricades’ if Trump isn’t the nominee.”
Delegates have explicitly and increasingly reported fear to be at the convention and openly support someone other than Trump. These death threats and threats of other forms of violence are not the only worrying signs of such out of the Trump camp. Rally after rally for the candidate has been marked by violence. Protesters, most of whom have been perfectly peaceful, have been assaulted numerous times.
And, on top of all that, these threats of violence aren’t the only dangerous variables affecting the GOP convention. As has been openly discussed, the delegates can be paid off by a candidate in exchange for support, meaning bribed. And, also meaning, that democracy that works for the people is long gone from the GOP. Should they be elected to high office, they will only bring such non-democracy with them. Heck, we can see that in action already since the Republicans in the Senate refuse to allow the people of America to have a functioning Supreme Court.
In other words, those who care to enact democracy that works for the people should stay far, far away, from the GOP.