Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute, is the Republican national committeeman from Virginia and a Rules Committee member since 1972, making him one of the foremost experts on GOP national convention rules.
He recently spoke out about the current delegate situation facing the party, discussing the way—because, as he put it, there is only one way now—the party establishment can prevent either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz from becoming the Republican presidential nominee. That "way" would be to rewrite the rules before the convention begins.
At issue for the GOP establishment is Rule 40(b), which requires a candidate much have a delegate majority from at least eight states in order to qualify for nomination. Trump has surpassed that number and Cruz, who currently has seven delegate majorities, is expected to surpass it, as well.
Blackwell tried to change the rule, twice, before any votes were cast in the current election cycle, but those efforts were blocked by attorneys representing the establishment interests. But now that it is all but impossible for any other candidate to qualify for the nomination, he fears they could try to change the rules between now and when the convention gathers in mid-July.
"I think what happened is the establishment that put in these rules, expecting that it would help establishment candidates for president, still believed in January that these rules would facilitate the nomination of an establishment person," Blackwell told World Net Daily last week. "It appears that the only two candidates for whom votes may count at the convention coming up in Cleveland would be Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. That is why the establishment is now talking about changing these rules."
He told The Washington Examiner the likely time for a rule change will come at the RNC's spring meetings. Those are scheduled for April 20-23 in Hollywood, Fla.
"[RNC Chairman Reince Priebus] has the votes to do that if he decides to do it that way," he said. "And don't you believe anybody who says—if it does happen that way—that Reince didn't decide to do it that way."
Blackwell has said any such move would likely be the end of the Republican Party.
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