Republican strategists who had spoken of a smooth nomination process just a few months ago are now braced for a battle royal at the Quicken Loans Arena. Insiders tell the Washington Post that GOP bigwigs gathered Monday and discussed the possibility of a brokered convention in Cleveland in July. The party hasn't entered a convention without a clear nominee since 1976, when Gerald Ford narrowly defeated conservative insurgent Ronald Reagan on the first ballot. The Post's sources say the GOP leaders discussed strategies in case there is no clear nominee this time around and no winner on the first ballot, allowing delegates to shift allegiances in what Reuters reports would be the first brokered GOP convention since Thomas Dewey was nominated in 1948.
A source tells the Post that some GOP strategists argued for a strategy to make sure there was a clear alternative to Donald Trump in the event of a brokered convention, though another official present at the meeting tells Reuters that Trump wasn't the focus of the discussion. "It was more logistical in nature, not strategic," he says. "It was more like 'are you planning for a hurricane?'" A former Mitt Romney adviser agrees that with the field still crowded, talk of a brokered convention goes beyond Trump. "What you're seeing is the party bracing for a potential Hunger Games scenario where you have a different person win each of the first four primaries and they all have the resources to slug it out until the convention," he tells the Post. (Read more Republican Party stories.)