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GOP Holdouts Mull Options To Stop Trump's Nomination


For a time, a lot of people thought the Republican National Convention would offer suspense over who would be the party's presidential nominee. Those days have long passed. Donald Trump secured the delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination in Cleveland next week - and then some. Still, there is a small, committed group of holdouts who think they can still stop Trump. NPR's Scott Detrow is watching the action in Cleveland. Good morning.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So OK, the convention starts next Monday. But I gather today is an important day for that Never Trump movement. What's going on?

DETROW: So today and tomorrow is - and the word of the day is unbinding. So there is more than 1,500 delegates pledged to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot. That's far more than what he needs for the nomination. There's a push from several different groups to pass language changing that and allowing delegates to vote for whoever they want. They wouldn't have to be bound by primary results. And if this rule was adopted, technically, they could vote for another candidate and give the nomination to someone else.

MONTAGNE: Well, how exactly would that happen?

DETROW: So Trump is still the presumptive nominee. That's not official yet. That vote happens on Monday, the first day of the convention. That vote and everything else that happens at the convention - it's governed by the rules that this committee meeting today and tomorrow is going to set. There's 112 people on this committee. The Republican Party and the Trump campaign stocked a lot of it with people that they view as allies. So these anti-Trump folks know they aren't going to win a majority here.

But here's the thing - if just a quarter of the committee votes for this idea, this unbinding - and that's only 28 people - it would have to go to the full convention for an up or down vote. And these anti-Trump folks feel like that, given how much discomfort there's been with Donald Trump from a lot of Republicans, they might have a chance if that happens.

MONTAGNE: In the end, though, Scott (laughter)...

DETROW: Yeah (laughter).

MONTAGNE: Can they really - is this going to happen? Can they really stop Trump?

DETROW: It's enough of a chance that I guess I'll be sitting in this meeting for two days. But the odds are...

MONTAGNE: Well, you have to keep your eye on it. But - what, the odds?

DETROW: That right. But the odds are pretty long. I mean, the party doesn't want this. Some of - Republican officials might not like Donald Trump. But blowing up the convention, throwing it to the floor and more importantly, ignoring millions of primary votes - and Donald Trump points out a lot he's won more primary votes than any other Republican in history - that would not be a scene that they want.

But I think maybe the bigger issue here is the fact that this is even an issue, that this is coming up for a vote. And this is going to be part of the focus of the rules committee for the next few days. And I think that's just kind of an indication of how unique this year is and how many Republican officials and activists just are concerned about Trump as the nominee for the party.

MONTAGNE: And I know you've been speaking to these people. And just curious, briefly, do they believe it?

DETROW: Yeah, they do. They feel like they're gaining support. Just like Trump talks about a silent majority a lot in terms of voters, they feel like they have a silent majority of delegates who, given the chance, could pick someone else. But here's the thing - they haven't offered an alternate candidate. And it's hard to beat something with nothing.

MONTAGNE: All right. Well, thanks very much.

DETROW: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's Scott Detrow who will be joining us each morning in Cleveland next week. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.