Did “the little engine than can” just get derailed in Cleveland? “This apparently closes the door on any chance that Kasich ever had to be nominated at the convention,” The Washington Times reported James Bopp Jr., special counsel to the RNC Rules Committee, said Thursday in Hollywood, Florida, to the Republican National Convention panel on the impact of a proposal to simplify the rules for the presidential nomination.
At issue was whether a mere majority was needed to reopen nominations, per the proposed adoption of Robert’s Rules of Order, or whether the current rules used by the U.S. House of Representatives that require a two-thirds vote by attending delegates would stand. Defeated overwhelmingly by voice vote of the Standing Committee on Rules, the proposed rule change would have allowed Gov. Kasich or another poorly performing candidate to be nominated after the balloting in Cleveland began.
General counsel John Ryder told the Republican National Committee that changing the rules at the Cleveland convention in July would require a two-thirds vote by the delegates who attend, counsel that made so-called anti-establishment forces that favor Donald Trump or Ted Cruz happy by making it harder to substitute candidates.
With only one first-place win to his credit after 32 Republican primaries and caucuses, Gov. Kasich is limping his way to the convention, hoping to gather a few more delegates along the way if he can. His plan B has been to emerge the candidate delegates will settle for if current first and second place candidates—Trump and Cruz, respectfully—don’t arrive with the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination and can’t reach victory on subsequent ballots when delegates can switch candidates.
Right now, to have a candidate’s name put in nomination under rules passed in 2012, that candidate must have won a majority of the delegates from eight states. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz meet the requirement—John Kasich has won just his home state of Ohio and, as Times reporter Ralph Z. Hallow notes, he’s not leading the polls in any upcoming primary.
“Hijacking” the nomination by a candidate like John Kasich, who is running fourth in a three-candidate race, would “create chaos at the convention and cause irreparable harm to the party,” said Solomon Yue, an Oregon RNC member.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kasich complicated his life significantly when he interviewed with the Washington Post and said Republicans doesn’t like ideas. “If you don’t have ideas, you got nothing, and frankly my Republican Party doesn’t like ideas,” he said in his 90-minute sit-down with WaPo editorial staff. “They want to be negative against things. We had Reagan, OK? Saint Ron. We had Kemp, he was an idea guy. I’d say Paul Ryan is driven mostly by ideas. He likes ideas. But you talk about most of ’em, the party is knee-jerk ‘against.’ Maybe that’s how they were created,” Kasich said.