Nearly 40 percent Republican members of The Politico Caucus, a panel of activists, operatives and strategists in 10 key states, would like to see changes that could deny Trump the GOP party’s nomination.
Trump has won 1,447 bound delegates and has commitments from another 95 unbound delegates, putting him well over the 1,237 needed to clinch the nomination.
But with just one month and a half to go until the GOP convention, about 30 percent of Republicans want to see the party throw out those rules, unbind the delegates and allow them to choose a different candidate.
For many of them, Trump as the nominee, represents an existential threat to the party.
“Trump's continued descent into madness is dragging the GOP down with him,” said a Florida Republican, who like all respondents, completed the Politico survey anonymously. “A convention switchup would be great politics and save the GOP.”
“If the GOP wants to survive, it must find some way to open the rules for abstention, or some other unbinding process so that delegates can save the party from the historic defeat it faces under the banner of Donald Trump,” an Iowa Republican said.
“One average teleprompter speech, given this past Tuesday, isn't going to suddenly change Donald Trump into an aspirational, magnanimous leader. He is what he is: a bully through and through, one that takes the low road at every opportunity. Someone who doesn't understand or care about policy. And lest we forget, a racist,” the Iowa Republican added.
A number of GOP insiders pointed to Trump’s negative effect on Republicans polls as evidence of the necessity of replacing him with another candidate.
“As a national delegate to the GOP convention I will work to push through any rule necessary to deny Trump the nomination,” a Colorado Republican said. “If he is our nominee, I believe the party will lose races all the way down the ticket. The only way to save the GOP is to have this fight at the convention.”
Trump, a billionaire businessman from New York, has propelled himself as the Republican frontrunner by framing himself as an anti-establishment outsider.
However, his campaign has been defined by controversy from the beginning, including disparaging remarks about women, Mexican immigrants and Muslims.