Preibus already lining up behind Trump? Maybe, maybe not...

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Wednesday May 04th, 2016

'Presumptive nominee'

Last night, shortly after Trump's victory and Cruz's exit, Reince Priebus tweeted the following:

Preibus already lining up behind Trump? Maybe, maybe not...

Then, this morning, he appeared on CNN.  During his segment, he said it's "pretty obvious" that Trump was going to get the 1,237 and that "something different and something new is probably good for our party."

This has all been met with a media chorus of "Priebus gets behind Trump," but there's something you should be aware of. 

Priebus is very careful to call Trump the "presumptive nominee." To someone who doesn't pay tremendous attention to the inner-workings of political parties, that may sound like it's pretty much a done deal.  ...But that's not really the case.

Last week, I was speaking with an unbound GOP delegate who was adamant in pointing out that "presumptive" is a derivative of the word "presume" for a reason. There are a lot of things that can happen between now and the day the delegates cast their votes at the convention. Until those votes are locked in, it's a bit of a free-for-all behind the scenes. There will be challenges, rules committee meetings, and internal battles that can end in any number of ways. 

As has been argued before, even if Donald Trump gets to 1,237 there are still ways around his nomination.

So, when you hear Priebus say "we're going to support our presumptive nominee," bear in mind: "presumptive" can be a temporary condition. For some delegates the primaries are little more than a beauty pageant for bragging rights. They look at the "will of the people" as something to be considered - not something to which they must adhere.

It's possible, though increasingly unlikely, that we're still in for a bumpy ride to Cleveland.

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