Could Donald Trump Get Denied The Nomination By GOP Establishment?

Even if Donald Trump comes to the Republican Convention in Cleveland with more delegates than Ted Cruz, he may not leave there with the nomination.

William Kristol openly said so on yesterday's edition of This Week, the ABC Sunday political talk show. When asked by host Jonathan Karl if he would vote for Hillary Clinton if Trump were to be the Republican nominee, Kristol responded negatively.

"No, I won't vote for Hillary Clinton, and I won't vote for Donald Trump. I think we can deny Donald Trump the nomination. If we fail to, we deserve to have a better choice than Clinton or Trump. Really, it's a terrible choice for the country. There are plenty of decent people who could run as independent Republicans. And I think they could do pretty well." (emphasis added)
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Kristol, editor of the influential conservative magazine the Weekly Standard, went on to complain that "everyone here (at the round table discussion) is already proclaiming Trump the nominee, and 'Can he take on Hillary Clinton,' " while Trump still has not yet captured the nomination.

Motioning to Georgetown University professor and Hillary Clinton supporter Michael Eric Dyson, who was sitting next to him, Kristol then stated, "These people want Donald Trump to be the face of the Republican Party. I don't want Donald Trump to be the face of the Republican Party."

Earlier in the program, Kristol declared the reason for panic amongst Republicans that in their minds necessitates keeping Trump from the nomination.

"On February 1st, the day of Iowa, Trump trailed Clinton in a bunch of polls, if you averaged them, by about 3 points. Now he trails [Clinton] by 11 points. What's happened in those two months to Hillary Clinton's campaign and Donald Trump's campaign? The voters -- voters who matter, that is, except Trump's base of 38 percent or so of the Republican electorate, the voters you need to win a general election, are not being won over by Donald Trump, they're being alienated and turned off by Donald Trump."
Kristol was one of the 20-plus prominent conservatives who penned a piece in the January 21 "Against Trump" issue of National Review.

The GOP Movement To Oppose Trump

Kristol's comments are part of a broader movement amongst Republican establishment types who are desperate to keep Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to be nominated.

As the New York Times reported on March 19, many GOP leaders are are "preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin's April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election."

William Kristol, Leader of Anti-Donald Trump Movement
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]Trump currently has 739 delegates, while Cruz has 465, and Kasich 143. While it is mathematically impossible for Kasich to get to 1,237, Cruz would need 89 percent of the remaining 899 delegates, while Trump needs 55 percent, according to an analysis by CNN.

The Times outlined how Trump could be stopped from getting the delegates he needs.

"A number of states, including Pennsylvania and Colorado, send large numbers of uncommitted delegates to the convention, making those party regulars especially ripe targets for courtship. Other states will be sending delegates bound to candidates who have left the race, like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeb Bush. Those delegates could be persuaded to vote for Mr. Cruz or Mr. Kasich after the first ballot."
In short, even if Trump comes to the GOP convention with more delegates than anyone else, anything can happen after the first round of voting, as delegates then are no longer bound to a particular candidate.

This is why Republican establishment leaders like Kristol believe that they can keep Trump from getting the nomination.

Should Trump win the nomination, some GOP establishment types like Kristol would turn to a known conservative to run as an independent. The Times speculated that former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn could be that person, though Coburn denies it.

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The First Test To Stop Trump

The next Republican primary contest is April 5 in Wisconsin, which has 42 delegates that are rewarded by Congressional district. While Trump held a 10-point lead in a February 21 poll by Marquette University, two more recent polls, conducted by the Free Beacon and Emerson, show Cruz with leads of five percent and one percent, respectively.

What do you think? Can GOP establishment leaders keep Trump from getting the GOP nomination?

[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]