-- The Republican convention's powerful rules panel is slated to gavel in this morning at 8 a.m. So what do they do and why are they important? Here's everything you need to know:
What Are The Basics? Get Me Up To Speed. The convention’s rules committee is a group of 112 delegates that will write the rules for the Republican convention. They meet on Thursday at 8 a.m. in downtown Cleveland to propose edits to the temporary rules that have been in place since 2012. They’ll meet all day on Thursday and go into Friday if necessary.
So What Is The Anti-Trump Movement Trying To Change? Anti-Trump forces, spearheaded by Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh, are trying to insert a rule that would let delegates vote for whomever they choose, giving the convention the chance to block Donald Trump’s nomination.
But How Would It Happen? The group will propose its amendment during the rules panel meeting either Thursday or Friday, depending on the number of other amendments on other rules from various other members. The panel will then hold an up-or-down vote on the amendment. The vote is likely to fail by a wide margin, but we should get a sense of whether the group is able to garner the support for a minority report.
Okay, You Lost Me. What’s A Minority Report? A group of delegates can force a vote on the full convention floor if they submit a “minority report” -– a petition with the text of the amendment and the signatures of 28 rules panel members (a quarter of the committee’s membership).
So The Fight For A Rules Change Will Drag Into Next Week? Yes. This minority report must be submitted within one hour of the panel’s final vote, which will likely happen next Monday afternoon. If successful, the effort would then need support from more than half of the 2,472 delegates on the full convention floor to unbind the delegates.
And If This Minority Report Doesn't Work, What's Left? Not much. Some anti-Trump delegates insist that the delegates are actually already unbound under the current rules. That's not the way the RNC's top lawyers see it, but there are rules that allow delegates to object if they don't think their vote was reported correctly. It's not clear how many how many plan to raise protests on the floor during the roll call vote if they try to go rogue.
Back To Thursday. Are There Other Rules That Could Change? You bet. The anti-Trump delegates are also considering pushing changes to make it easier for delegates to block Trump’s vice-presidential choice and pick someone else. But there’s more. Delegates will mull ousting the first-in-the-nation statuses of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, under fire for failing to accurately reflect the opinions of voters nationwide. A more likely move could be bumping back the Nevada caucuses, a recent addition to the early calendar that has faced criticism. They’ll also likely look at how delegates are selected and excluding independents from voting in the primary and caucus process.