Why Local Conventions Are A Must Attend For Illinois Trump Backers

By DOUG IBENDAHL • April 8, 2016


“Every battle is won before it is fought.” – Sun Tzu, ‘The Art of War’


That ancient advice remains fresh today in the ongoing battle for the GOP presidential nomination.


So many people are spending so much time right now speculating about what might happen in July if there is a contested Republican National Convention. But in all likelihood, we’ll know who our nominee will be before delegates even check into their Cleveland hotels this summer.


Donald Trump will most likely either have the nomination locked-up, or his enemies will have successfully worked to ensure he never gets to the necessary 1,237 delegate majority.


Forget about Cleveland for now, the real battle is being fought even as we speak at county and state conventions around the country. Those are much easier to rig and there isn’t anything close to the sunshine there will be in Cleveland.


The old Establishment, the people so desperate to stop Donald Trump, know this all too well. That’s why they lawyered-up months ago and they’re working right now implementing various schemes to exploit the byzantine (and often unique) rules each state party has governing the selection of delegates to the Republican National Convention.


And if the current rules aren’t already rigged enough in the old guard’s favor, many have no problem changing them to more effectively stymie Trump.


Just one example of what I’m talking about happened very recently in Tennessee. Like Illinois, that state directly elected most of its national delegates in the primary. But also like Illinois, Tennessee has an additional allotment of “at-large” delegates which are chosen pursuant to state party rules. On April 2 there was a meeting in Nashville to choose those at-large delegates, and despite the fact Trump won Tennessee handily, local party bosses pulled-out all the stops to make sure most of those at-large spots to the National Convention were given to anti-Trump people.


This kind of tedious trench warfare is going to continue on a state-by-state basis. The obvious objective of the anti-Trumps is to pounce on any opportunity to assign delegate slots which remain in play to anti-Trump people. They won’t call it “stealing” of course. They’ll say “we’re merely following the rules” – rules which they write obviously.


Take that truth as a given and dedicate yourself to joining the battle in your state to protect Trump victories, and do so to the fullest extent of the law. In any case, few if any of these individual battles will ever be won in any court. The battle at hand is a political one, and the key to victory is getting large numbers of Trump supporters to the local conventions.


We’re certain to see more evidence of rigging and unethical application of rules which were already one-sided and anti-outsider to begin with. And where rules and the law are inconvenient to the goal of stopping Trump, you know some are simply going to ignore them entirely.


But Trump supporters need to do more than complain. There is much we all can do to lawfully maximize Trump’s chances of officially securing the nomination in Cleveland. At the same time, yes, we also need to publicize all rule breaking and unethical conduct, and publically shame, by name, the bosses and hacks who do it. Needless to say, I for one won’t hesitate to do so.


The bottom line for Trump supporters in Illinois: our work isn’t done.


Job one is to contact your GOP County Chairman TODAY (or by this Wednesday, April 13 at the latest) and ask to be appointed as a delegate to the Illinois Republican State Convention in May. If you live in Cook County, call your Chicago GOP Ward Committeeman or GOP Township Committeeman instead. And in DuPage County, start with your GOP Township Chairman.


Full background on the Illinois Republican State Convention and its importance in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination is explained here: How To Be A Delegate At The Illinois Republican STATE Convention.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.


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