“I think the party ought to change the nominee, because we’re gonna get killed with this nominee,” said conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “They ought to get together and let the convention decide.”
Steve Deace, another conservative radio host, has also been calling on GOP convention delegates to revolt. And Illinois-based conservative radio host, Ian Bayne, has encouraged Trump-bound delegates and alternate delegates to simply skip the convention, potentially leaving Ted Cruz with a majority of bound delegates when a nominee is chosen.
Pledged delegates to the GOP convention are bound to vote for a particular candidate on the first ballot but many are freed on the second ballot if a majority is not achieved, to choose whomever they want.
But such changes can only be made if they are approved by a majority of the convention's rules committee -- the 112 members responsible for drafting the rules of the convention -- and are only implemented if they are subsequently approved by the majority of delegates on the convention floor.
“I suppose you have to bet against it,” conservative commentator Bill Kristol, who is not a delegate, but has actively tried to recruit an independent candidate, told ABC News about the possibility of vanquishing Trump in Cleveland, “but I don’t think it’s nearly as out of the question as I would have thought a few days ago.”
Kendyl Unruh, a Colorado delegate and a member of the rules committee bound to Ted Cruz on the first ballot, told ABC News she intends to sponsor a “conscience clause,” enabling delegates to voluntarily unbind themselves based on their “personal or religious conscience” without penalty from the RNC.
The effort to block Trump is still in what Unruh called the “information gathering” stages. But she faces an uphill climb to convince fellow members of the rules committee that this is beneficial to the party.
The RNC declined to provide a list of the rules committee members. ABC News has identified 40, several of whom did not return phone calls. Those who did respond seemed reluctant or opposed to implementing a rule change as drastic as unbinding delegates.
“If she has a conscience problem, she should step down,” South Carolina delegate and rules committee member Cindy Costa said regarding Unruh’s proposal. “Donald Trump won it fair and square.”
Sandye Kading, a South Dakota delegate who is also on the rules committee, said the idea of unbinding delegates is unrealistic and would undermine the unity necessary to win the election.
Fellow South Dakota delegate and rules committee member David Wheeler said he would have “grave misgivings” about such a rules change, but it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.
“The idea that the rules committee would make such a dramatic change is unlikely,” he said. “But this election has been unpredictable, so we can’t rule anything out.”