Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who appears to be a day away from a major primary victory in Wisconsin, joined Donald Trump in predicting dire consequences for the Republican Party if one of the leaders in the race is denied the nomination at a contested convention.
Trump, who is currently well ahead of Cruz in the delegate count, has previously said that there would be “riots” if he won the largest number of delegates but was denied the nomination. Cruz, speaking to reporters on Monday, didn’t go quite that far, but said there would be a “revolt” at the convention if neither he nor Trump gets the nod.
“This fevered pipe dream of Washington, that at the convention they will parachute in some white knight who will save the Washington establishment…it ain’t gonna happen,” he said. “If it did, the people would quite rightly revolt.”
He added, “If over 80 percent of the delegates are Cruz delegates and Trump delegates, under what universe do 1,000 Trump delegates or 1,000 Cruz delegates go vote for some uber-Washington lobbyist who hasn’t been on the ballot?”
Cruz made it clear that he isn’t talking about the sort of angry protest that Trump surrogate Roger Stone suggested when he called for a Days of Rage-type event outside the convention hall in Cleveland in July. He said the revolt would likely take the form of staying home on Election Day rather than showing up to support a nominee who fared poorly, or didn’t even compete, in the primary elections.
Cruz also called for the Republican Party to retain a rule adopted by delegates to the 2012 convention when drafting operating rules for the 2016 gathering. Rule 40(b) requires a candidate to have won at least 50 percent of the delegates in eight separate states in order to have his or her name placed in nomination.
If the rule is retained, it would most likely bar Ohio Gov. John Kasich from being considered at the convention because he has not met that threshold. Neither has Cruz at this point in the race, but he is expected to do so before the end of the primary season in June.
Kasich has no way to win the required 1,237 through the primaries, so he’s counting on being nominated at a contested convention.
Both Trump and Cruz have become increasingly vocal in their calls for the Ohio governor to get out of the race, with Trump suggesting that that he is taking votes from him.