Backroom Danger to Trump, Cruz

Brendan Kirby, LifeZette

Pat Buchanan says rivals have a shared interest in blocking Establishment convention coup.

If Republican front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz do not work together to nail down favorable convention rules, both risk watching the nomination snatched from them by Establishment forces, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan said Wednesday.

The former presidential candidate pointed out on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that most people who will serve as delegates in Cleveland this summer are party regulars chosen at state conventions and not necessarily loyal to the candidates to whom they are pledged. That means if Trump or Cruz do not win the nomination on a first ballot, they could lose it in subsequent balloting.

Part of the strategy, Buchanan said, needs to be adopting and strengthening Rule 40 B, which states that a candidate cannot be submitted for nomination unless he has won the support of a majority of delegates from at least eight states. But the rule is only a placeholder until this year’s convention delegates write their own rules.

cleveland-ohio-gop-convention_small-2 Backroom Danger to Trump, Cruz

Buchanan said Trump and Cruz have a shared interest in preventing changes to allow consideration of anyone who has not won delegates through primaries and caucuses.

“Cruz and Trump’s forces have to get together at the convention on opening day and reject those rules and put in their own rules,” he said. “If they make a solid, iron-clad Rule 40 B that the Cruz-Trump people write, I think they can guarantee what I think is going to happen anyhow, which is it’s going to be Cruz or Trump.”

Buchanan said Cruz better have a strategy to avoid getting cast aside by the Establishment once he has succeeded in killing off Trump.

“Does Cruz really believe that Lindsey Graham loves him?” he said, referring to the senator from South Carolina.

Curly Haugland, an unbound delegate from North Dakota who serves on the Rules Committee, said on the “Laura Ingraham Show” that he will propose allowing any candidate who won even a single delegate to be placed into nomination at the convention. At that point, the choice should be up the delegates, he said.

Haugland noted that 22 states have open primaries allowing non-Republicans to participate.