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The RNC Resolution to Name Trump the “Presumptive Nominee”
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Gabriel Côté

Feb 10, 2024

In late January, The Republican National Commitee (RNC) held its Winter meeting in Las Vegas just a few days before Nevada primary and caucus. A motion to nominate Trump the "presumptive" nominee was presented, but was then withdrew following Trump's comment on the matter.

With both principal political parties racing to nominate their presidential candidate, a 2020 presidential election rematch seems more and more likely. Both ex-candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, won all the primaries already held by their respective parties. They also are currently leading in the upcoming primaries. 

The Presidential Nomination Process

To become the presumptive nominee, the presidential candidate must win 1,215 delegates divided amongst each state. The distribution process of delegates to the presidential candidates is decided by the states. They typically distribute them based on the results of the primaries or caucuses held in their state. 

However, the national presidential nomination process lasts for months because the states do not hold their primaries or caucuses simultaneously. The first state to vote for the nomination was Iowa on Jan. 15th and the last state will be South Dakota on June 4th. 

Even though the presidential nomination competition started about a month ago, some RNC members are already attempting to nominate Trump as the presumptive presidential candidate. The RNC is the Republican committee responsible for overseeing the party’s affairs, such as organizing the national convention, fundraising events and electoral strategies including the presidential nomination.

Resolution’s Implications
Maryland member of the RNC David Bossie proposed a resolution to name Trump the presumptive presidential nominee of the party. The committee would have debated the proposal during its Winter meeting in Las Vegas, held from Jan. 30th to Feb. 3rd.

No rules block the RNC from accepting or denying the proposal. A similar proposal even occurred in 2016. The RNC declared Trump the presumptive candidate following his win in the May 2016 Indiana primaries. There were only two candidates left for the nomination, Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, and Cruz had only won Iowa. However, the current and 2016 primaries are much different. Trump won all already-held primaries, including New Hampshire, where Haley campaigned the most. Only three states expressed their voting intentions, and Trump only won 63 of the 1,215 delegates necessary to win the nomination. This number of delegates is unattainable until Super Tuesday on March 5th.  

The Withdrawal
Trump responded to Bossie’s proposal on Truth Social only hours later, writing that he appreciated the gesture but did not want to win the nomination that way. He asked to finish the primaries “at the ballot box” in the name of “party unity.” The RNC then withdrew the motion.

Many RNC members were concerned about the democratic consequences of naming Trump as the presumptive nominee this early in the race because it would not allow all Republican members to participate in the nomination process.

However, other RNC members indirectly mentioned they would have favored the motion. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel stated she thought former ambassador Nikki Haley “had a great run,” but the party will need to eventually unite around the nominee, which, in her opinion, will be Donald Trump.

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