By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – When the Republican National Convention opens in Cleveland, it won’t be the historical rah-rah affair.
Anti-Trump forces are planning a mutiny on the floor, led by Colorado delegates. Their goal — to unbind all delegates and block Donald Trump from the nomination.
“I’ve felt since the moment Mr. Trump got in the race that this was dangerous, dangerous to have him as a nominee. First of all, he’s not a Republican and … half of what he tells people he’s going to do he can’t do legally and the other half he won’t,” says Regina Thomson, a Colorado delegate and ringleader for the Free the Delegates movement, which has drawn attention from media all over the world.
She says they’re “the conscience of a party that’s lost its way.” Their goal is to pass a rule that clarifies what they say is already delegates’ responsibility – to vote their conscience and not be bound to Trump.
The presumptive nominee received more than 13 million votes, but Thomson says, “Keep in mind, the vast number are democrats and independents who voted in open primary states and caucuses so the argument that this is we the people – the base of the republican party – that did that doesn’t hold water with me… roughly sixty percent of the voters who voted didn’t vote for him.”
Thomson’s co-leader in the effort, Kendal Unruh, is a national rules committee member. She says they have the votes to bring the measure to the floor where they need two-thirds majority to pass it.
“We’re fully confident we’re going to succeed. We wouldn’t be putting this much time and money into it if we didn’t think we’d succeed,” says Thomson.
And, she says Trump is worried. He’s hired 150 so-called “whips” to keep delegates in line, and, she says party chairs who support Trump are threatening anti-Trump delegates with big fines and banishment from the party.
“I expect that we’re going to have Trump supporters inside the convention getting red-faced and screaming at us and threatening and so forth and we just don’t respond in kind.”
Thomson says they aren’t championing any particular candidate. They’re simply urging delegates to vote for the candidate they feel best represents their state and party.
If their effort fails, she says they have a backup plan — another rule change that gives delegates control of Trump’s vice-presidential pick.