Trump-AP

Source: Horn News

The Republican National Convention is usually a chance to capitalize on days of extensive media coverage – a time when the party’s message is delivered directly to the nation without the filter of a biased media.

Conventions like the one in Cleveland are designed to be unity events. It’s for both political allies and primary enemies to put aside their differences and get together on stage behind the party nominee. Presidential candidates rely on the event for a media-induced bump in polling as party loyalists come together as one.

But anti-Trump forces within the GOP establishment are planning to stop that at all costs.

Already, the coverage of Donald Trump’s nomination hasn’t focused on the stars, athletes, pastors and politicians trekking to Cleveland to show their support.

They’ve been fixated on who WON’T be there: Neither of the party’s living former presidents, George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush, and neither of the party’s previous two nominees, Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain.

And it’s going to get worse.

Some, like 2012 nominee Romney, are hardcore members of the “Dump Trump” movement, a small band of angry conservatives desperately searching for a way to overturn the will of a record 13.3 million primary voters

And these would-be political allies are going to turn the unifying RNC event into a total media ambush.

Publicly, they’re being led by Colorado schoolteacher Kendal Unruh, who has a coveted seat on the highly influential rules committee – but clearly, there are other bigger names pulling strings here.

Not many schoolteachers can pull together the $3 million these hardcore holdouts have raised to fight Trump at his own convention

Unruh was trying to push a “conscience clause” that would allow delegates to vote for whomever they want rather than the candidate they are required to vote for based on primary results.

It didn’t succeed.

“The Never Trump movement just died a short, brutal death,” Real Clear Politics editor Emily Goodin wrote late Thursday as the move failed. “Didn’t even take 10 minutes.”

But don’t expect that to be the end of it.

“Go buy brass knuckles for the floor fight,” she told The Wall Street Journal after the meeting.

Even Utah Sen. Mike Lee, also part of the anti-Trump movement, told the media he’s predicting more chaos to come.

“This problem, this angst as we will see in a few days isn’t going to go away just because we paper over it with a few rules,” Lee told reporters. “Don’t make the case that their voices should be silent, that’s not going to help elect him president and it’s not going to help our party.”

Some in the party believe delegates are already allowed to break the rules and vote for whomever they want when the formal vote for the nomination is taken next week.

“Our goal is simple, to ensure the delegates are not misled to believe they must follow orders or rules set by others,” Eric O’Keefe, founder of Delegates Unbound, told The New York Times.

His organization is currently running TV ads on Fox News in Cleveland – and the message is aimed squarely at delegates.

Here’s the ad:

At least some delegates agree.

“Every delegate arriving in Cleveland next week arrives unbound, free to exercise his or her best judgment,” Gordon Humphrey, a delegate and former U.S. senator, wrote in a commentary for CNBC. “In a normal year, delegates would give heaviest weight to the preference expressed in state primaries. But this is not a normal year, because Donald Trump, himself, is abnormal.”

Calling Trump a “sociopath,” Humphrey is urging his fellow delegates to “dump him… in favor of a qualified candidate.”

And while this movement has almost no chance of success, it WILL do is turn a moment of triumph for Trump into a three-ring circus – a media ambush, right when the party can least afford the distraction.