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Insiders to Trump: No majority, no nomination
Republicans say it's 1,237 delegates or bust for Donald Trump. By Steven Shepard

A majority of Republican insiders say Donald Trump should not get the GOP presidential nomination if he falls short of winning a majority of delegates – even if Trump amasses more than any of his opponents.

That’s according to The POLITICO Caucus – a panel of strategists, activists and operatives in seven key swing states. Roughly six-in-10 Republicans said the party should nominate another candidate if Trump finishes with a plurality, rather than the required 1,237-delegate majority necessary to claim the party nomination.

“Rules is rules. You have to get a majority,” said a Virginia Republican who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously. “That’s the problem with our country: No one ever wins anymore.”

The question is central to the GOP calculus before the Cleveland convention: Should the party award the nomination to the candidate who won the most delegates in total – as Trump himself has advocated – or stick to the rule that a candidate must win at least 1,237 delegates in order to be the nominee?

The majority of insiders who want the party to choose someone else if Trump only wins a plurality of delegates said they are motivated by questions of electability, Trump’s capricious campaign style and personality.

“I’m firmly in the ‘Never Trump’ camp,” said a New Hampshire Republican. “The GOP gets killed if he’s the nominee. We probably get killed if he doesn’t support a different nominee anyway. So if it makes no difference to the eventual outcome, my conscience will be clear going down with a responsible nominee instead.”

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