It appears there may be “Never Trump” effort today at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Iowa delegate Adam Motzko of Sioux City says about three-quarters of the Iowans who voted in the Republican Party’s Caucuses on February 1 did not vote for Donald Trump.
“And delegates from Iowa, specifically, should heed that voice at the national convention,” Motzko says.
Trump doesn’t have the nomination “locked up yet,” according to Motzko. He says there is “still a chance” some sort of “procedural” maneuver could get Ted Cruz nominated instead.
“As delegates, it’s our responsibility to nominate someone who gives us the best shot at winning in November and faithfully represents our values,” Motzko says. “I think Trump is not the best choice.”
One victory for Cruz forces would be a new party rule that would penalize states, like New Hampshire and South Carolina, that let all voters — not just Republicans — cast ballots in Republican caucuses and primaries.
“The reality is Donald Trump is likely going to be the nominee after convention,” Motzko says. “But that said, not all hope is lost in that there are still plenty of things we can do to structurally reform the party and make it beneficial for the voices of grassroots Republican conservatives going forward.”
The chairman of the Iowa GOP last week said he would “blunt and perhaps even rude” to Iowa delegates who refuse to support Trump at the convention. Steve Scheffler of West Des Moines, Iowa’s Republican National Committeeman, says there’s “a lot of noise” from the “Never Trump” movement, but he predicts it will fail on the convention floor.
“A lot of people wanting to gain attention for themselves and people that I guess would rather burn the house down than…elect Donald Trump,” Scheffler says.
Nominating a candidate who did not win the majority of votes in the primaries and caucuses would be “an insult to every grassroots Republican,” according to Scheffler.
“Twenty-four-hundred delegates should not be able to undo what people did throughout this long process,” Scheffler says. “…What person would want the nomination of a party when it was split wide open? I can’t imagine anybody out there on the Republican side who would want to be the Republican nominee under those circumstances.”
Jeff Ortiz of Ames, co-chair of Story County Republicans, supported Marco Rubio in the Caucuses. He’s expecting some “turmoil” this week.
“A lot of people have come here anticipating it. That’s their goal coming into it, but I do feel by the end of the convention, though, there’ll be some solidarity and people will come to their senses and realize that we have to coalesce around Trump, whether you like him or not, because the alternate is not something that we really feel the country really needs to face in the next eight years with Hillary.”
Ben Barringer, an Iowa delegate from Northwood, supported Ted Cruz in the February 1st Caucuses.
“It’s time for us to have our say, but we need to make sure we do it respectfully and once it’s clear that we’ve had our say, if we can no longer take positive action, then there’s no reason to try to gum up the works or make a mess,” Barringer says. “It’s time to move on and start working towards the next time we can have our say in four years.”
Inviting Cruz to speak at the convention was “an olive branch” from Trump, according to Barringer.
“Conventions, properly handled, can be a good time of healing,” Barringer says.
While Cruz’s speech will provide “a real opportunity” for the party to unite for the fall election, Barringer cautions that unity may not be evident at the convention itself.
“We’ll fight it out at the convention,” Barringer says. “It always happens and we’ll all be enemies when we are on the way home, but give it a week and we’ll be all working together.”
Marlys Popma, a delegate from Kellogg, says she’s disappointed the Republican National Committee seems to be ignoring grassroots conservatives.
“The people of this country are angry because the powers that be are not listening to the people,” Popma says, “so if the people want to be heard, the people will be heard.”
Popma says she’s a conservative who wants the party to focus on 2020 and try to ensure voters who cast ballots in Republican caucuses and primaries are registered Republicans. A proposal she hopes will win support would reward states with “closed” primaries and caucuses extra delegates to the 2020 Republican National Convention. Iowa’s Caucuses are a “closed” process, since you have to be a registered Republican — or Democrat — to participate.