CLEVELAND—The 2016 Republican National Convention lasted all of three hours before breaking into total chaos Monday afternoon.
A faction of anti-Trump delegates, led by Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh, sought to record a roll call vote on approval of the 2016 rules report and filed the necessary petition, with delegate majorities from more than seven states, to do so. The ideal for anti-Trumpers would have been to have the full convention reject the rules—which strictly bound delegates to the results of primaries, and didn’t include a “conscience” loophole for delegates—and then either rewrite them or keep operating on the less-stringent 2012 rules. Mostly, though, anti-Trump delegates just wanted to register their public approval through a roll call vote.
The leaders of the convention appeared to ignore the roll call petition, though, and just tried to steamroll it via voice vote. The “ayes” outshouted the “noes,” and the chair gaveled in passage. Chaos ensued, and members of the Colorado delegation walked out. “Record the vote!” went the chants. “U-S-A!” went the counter-chants.
About 10 minutes later, a voice vote on the rules passage was called up again. The ayes and the noes appeared even, but the chair called it for the ayes again. The chair of the Utah delegation was allowed to speak and called for a roll call vote. The convention chair then explained that though nine states had signed the original petition for the roll call vote, three states then subsequently withdrew—leaving the petitioners one short of the number of states needed.
And then Never Trumper Gordon Humphrey, a former U.S. senator and a New Hampshire delegate, went on TV and pronounced this a “meeting of brownshirts.” This is your law-and-order party, America.
Slate will have more on this later.