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Sorry, Rush. You don't need to win eight primaries to get the GOP nomination.

There is an erroneous idea about the rules under which the Republican presidential nomination floating around, apparently started by Rush Limbaugh. It's repeated by Jim Hoft over at Gateway Pundit.

Apparently Rush Limbaugh misread Rule 40 for the 2016 convention, which was adopted by the 2012 convention. It's quite easy to do- especially if you have an agenda. Here's the text of the rule:

RULE NO. 40
Nominations
(a) In making the nominations for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States and voting thereon, the roll of the states shall be called separately in each case; provided, however, that if there is only one candidate for nomination for Vice President of the United States who has demonstrated the support required by paragraph (b) of this rule, a motion to nominate for such office by acclamation shall be in order and no calling of the roll with respect to such office shall be required.

(b) Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business.

(c) The total time of the nominating speech and seconding speeches for any candidate for nomination for President of the United States or Vice President of the United States shall not exceed fifteen (15) minutes.

(d) When at the close of a roll call any candidate for nomination for President of the United States or Vice President of the United States has received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention, the chairman of the convention shall announce the votes for each candidate whose name was presented in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of this rule. before the convention adjourns sine die, the chairman of the convention shall declare the candidate nominated by the Republican Party for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States.

(e) If no candidate shall have received such majority, the chairman of the convention shall direct the roll of the states be called again and shall repeat the calling of the roll until a candidate shall have received a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in the convention.

Rush and Jim apparently misunderstood this rule to say that in order to be nominated a candidate must have won the primaries or caucuses in at least eight states. But that's not what it says. What is says is that

...Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business

There is no mention anywhere of the result of any primary or caucus. Moreover, the rules permit a name to be placed in nomination at any point in the balloting, and not only prior to the calling of the roll for the first ballot. Moreover- and most importantly- it is not necessary that a candidate has actually been placed in nomination in order to receive votes.

In fact, independent of anything the convention or the RNC might have decided, the laws of several states require delegates to cast their ballots for specific candidates regardless of the number of delegations who may or may not have signed an affidavit declaring majority support. If Rush and Jim were correct, the rule would not survive a legal challenge. But there's more.

While the laws of most states bind delegates to the winner of their primary or caucus on the first ballot, and some on the second, by the end of the second ballot some 80% of them are legally free to vote for anybody they want. Nor is there any rule preventing them from doing so; if there were, a deadlocked convention would have to adjourn without ever picking a nominee. And even if they had not been formally placed in nomination at the time when the ballot on which they were nominated, if they received a majority of the votes of the convention, they would still be the nominee. Rule 40 does not require that a candidate is formally placed in nomination in order to be nominated by the convention. It only requires that an affidavit certifying the support of a majority of at least eight state delegations be submitted before they are!

There is absolutely nothing in the rules or in the law preventing the convention from nominating even somebody who never entered a single primary or caucus, much less won eight of them, as long as they receive a majority of the votes of the delegates. Moreover, even if the rules did require them to be placed in nomination, it would be absolutely in order to reopen nominations at literally any point in the nominating process. In that case, the required affidavit certifying the support of a majority of eight or more state delegations at that moment could easily be presented an hour before the ballot on which the nomination was decided

So sorry, Trump and Cruz supporters. John Kasich could still be the nominee. So could Rush Limbaugh or Jim Hoft. So could literally anyone constitutionally eligible to be president.

One more point remains to be made. Somehow the Trump people have the idea that they have the right to change the rules in the middle of the game. They don't. If Donald Trump wins a majority of the delegates to the convention in the primaries and caucuses, he will be nominated on the first ballot. But if he doesn't, he is no more morally entitled to the nomination than anybody else. He simply would be one more candidate who had attempted to win the nomination in the primaries and caucuses, and failed. So on to Plan B.

Furthermore, there remains another, not very subtle point which Trump supporters can't seem to quite grasp. Donald Trump is not the choice of the Republican rank-and-file. He is merely the choice of more of the Republican rank-and-file than anybody else. Roughly two-thirds of the Republican rank-and-file voted for somebody else- and nearly as many Republicans say that they will not in any case vote for Trump in November as voted for him in the primaries and caucuses!

A plurality,- especially one outnumbered by two-to-one- is not a majority. The Trump people need to get over themselves. If the Republican convention does the smart thing and rejects Trump- who by every poll and measurement is the weakest candidate of the three still in the race, and would lead the party to catastrophic defeat- neither Trump nor his supporters will have any complaints coming. Moreover, their attempts to win by threats and bullying what they may yet fail to win via the primaries and caucuses is misguided.

There is nothing angry Trump supporters could do to the Republican party which would harm it as much as nominating Donald Trump would.

If the convention is, in fact, able to reject Trump- if he doesn't have a majority of the delegates- the GOP has nothing to lose.

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