2016 Archives

GOP infighting on display in rare uproar over adoption of convention rules

July 18, 2016

DALLAS (SMU)The Republican National Convention got off to a disruptive start Monday when a floor call for a state-by-state roll call vote on the convention’s rules failed, with “Never Trump” factions calling it a rigged game and pro-Trump factions calling the effort sour grapes.

SMU experts are available to discuss all aspects of the party conventions and the political season. Additional convention experts are available here.

FLOOR FIGHT PUTS REPUBLICAN PARTY SCHISM ON DISPLAY 
 

Ben VothBEN VOTH:
bvoth@smu.edu

“The failure of a call for a floor vote at the RNC today dramatizes the schism between Trump and conservative Republicans in the party,” says Voth. “It is likely that Cruz and other conservatives hoped to reform the primary process that allowed (non-Republicans) to influence and select Trump as the GOP nominee. It does appear that Trump opponents won the voice vote on the floor, but the chair at the podium ruled against the floor voice opinion.”

“The incident draws important implications toward a central Trump argument that the system is rigged in American politics,” Voth adds. “Trump and the RNC establishment may have rigged the floor votes on rules for the convention.”

Voth is SMU’s director of debate and an associate professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. He can discuss:

  • debate prep
  • debate strategy
  • comparisons between this debate season and the 2012 election’s debate season 
   
HOW RARE WAS MONDAY’S REBELLION? “VERY” 
 

Jeffrey A. EngelJEFFREY ENGEL
jaengel@mail.smu.edu

Putting the clamor in perspective, Monday’s disruption is nearly unprecedented since the 1970s.

“The modern party convention is a coronation, not a fight for who gets to wear the crown,” says Engel. “We have not seen a genuine question as to who the nominee will be since 1976, and even then it was resolved relatively peacefully before the first ballot, so this is very rare.”

“Typically, conventions in the TV era are staged events,” Engel adds. “All of these issues are resolved before the cameras get turned on, so the fact there are people within the Republican party who are willing to embarrass the party by showing their inner family fight is really quite profound and unusual.”

Engel is director of the SMU Center for Presidential History. He can discuss:

  • comparisons to past presidential races
  • foreign policy
  • presidential rhetoric

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