By: Andrew J. Tobias cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A newly launched website from the Republican National Committee is the clearest sign yet that the GOP is preparing for July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland to be contested.
The new site, conventionfacts.gop, broadly lays out the party’s rules for nominating a presidential candidate, including walking through the ground rules for the possible multiple rounds of voting at an “open convention.” (This is the party’s preferred terminology — it lacks the air of controversy of a “contested convention,” the more commonly used phrase.)
By explaining the GOP’s arcane rules, Republicans hope to tamp down the inevitable controversy that would result from a convention floor fight at Quicken Loans Arena. After downplaying the likelihood of a contested convention for months, the party recently shifted toward acknowledging the possibility.
“ConventionFacts.gop is a tool for voters to learn about convention delegates, rules, and how the overall process works in a simple, easy to understand format,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “Conventions are democracy in action and our Party’s gathering in Cleveland will be an exciting, transparent, and fair process.”
The new website does not address some of more chaotic aspects of a contested convention — the shadow campaign to whip delegates who might become free agents, how the GOP might change the rules to nudge the scales in favor of a preferred candidate, front-runner Donald Trump’s prediction of “riots” if he is denied the nomination and the PR spin needed to sell it all to the public. You’ll have to check out our recent explainer for that.
A convention is said to be contested when it arrives with no candidate securing a majority of votes. Trump currently holds a wide lead over the rest of the field, but may not eke out 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the race.
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