Is A Republican Contested Convention Still Possible? The Odds Are Lower Than Donald Trump's Were A Year Ago
We've known it's over on the Republican side for a while, but now it's official: Donald Trump has enough delegates to win the party nomination. On Thursday, the AP reported that Trump can finally boast 1,238 delegates. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination. His surge across the finish line is thanks to a small group of unbound Republican delegates who said they would back him at the convention in Cleveland this July. But, is a brokered Republican convention still possible?
The chances look slim. A brokered convention happens when over half of bound delegates automatically become free agents after no candidate grabs the magic number of delegates during the convention's first round of voting. During this free-for-all, underdog candidates have a second chance to lock down on votes. The problem is, enough of those unbound delegates are reportedly committed to helping Trump nab that magic number — which would pretty much eliminate the possibility of a contested convention.
Sure, those unbound delegates might change their minds for some wild reason before the GOP heads to Cleveland. But that seems highly unlikely. The AP interviewed some of the delegates, including Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard, who said, "I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn't like where our country is. I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump." Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House said, "I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump. If he can surround himself with the political talent, I think he will be fine."
Republicans who remain #NeverTrump may attempt to sway those delegates before July arrives. And there are some who are holding out hope for the second round voting of a brokered convention, despite reluctantly backing Trump now out of obligation. Delegate Cameron Linton of Pittsburgh told the AP, "If there's a second ballot I won't vote for Donald Trump. He's ridiculous. There's no other way to say it."
But before Trump won enough delegates and even before he became the presumptive GOP nominee, the likelihood of a brokered convention was already slim. In March, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said at CPAC that the odds of not having a brokered convention was, “I don’t know 85, 90 percent." He added that a brokered convention was, "extremely hypothetical ... Highly, highly unlikely. Just so everyone's clear out there." Then, after Priebus declared Trump to be the presumptive nominee earlier this month, the prospect of a brokered convention all but died.