- The Washington Times - Monday, July 18, 2016

CLEVELAND | Some of the sharpest intellects in the Republican Party had their doubts as to whether a Donald Trump-RNC combo could be made to work.

But far from adversaries pursuing incompatible agendas, Mr. Trump’s campaign operatives and those taking orders from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus have successfully merged, as shown most dramatically by Monday’s successful turning back of floor efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s primary victory.

Most importantly for the GOP loyalists desperate to keep former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out of the Oval Office, the Trump operatives meshed with the RNC’s operatives in a way that reassured the GOP’s establishment that the New York billionaire’s team is ready for prime time — ready to take on and defeat the Democrats’ presumptive nominee in November.

“It’s amazing to me how the Trump campaign and the RNC totally meshed,” said Peter Feaman of Florida, who was one of the 111 members of the Convention Rules Committee.

“This is my third national convention, and I have never seen the RNC work so closely with the presumptive nominee,” said Mr. Feaman, who is also one of the 168 members of the RNC, the national GOP’s governing body.

Idaho GOP Chairman Steve Yates noted that the combined Trump and RNC forces were able to prevail easily at all levels of convention business.

“In the platform committee, especially the rules committee deliberations, the Trump-RNC bloc repeatedly had over two-thirds support to cut off debate and move to votes,” said Mr. Yates. “Procedurally that demonstrated a level of coordination and support that was in doubt coming into [the] convention.”

Despite the at-times kaleidoscopic coalition of Never Trump, “conscience clause” and grass-roots factions assembled here to build a 2016 platform and a set of convention governing rules, the old rules prevailed.

Both Mr. Trump and, it became clear, Mr. Priebus wanted the old rules because the alternative was to plunge into the general election crippled by a very public disunity. Convention organizers also wanted to counter notions that Mr. Priebus and the rest of the GOP establishment were ever out to deny the nomination to the New York tycoon from fear that his campaign would crash and burn, taking vulnerable GOP senators with it.

But such Trump-RNC unity wasn’t a sure thing — until it was.

“Over the last week the Trump campaign deployed a very sophisticated and effective whip operation for navigating the platform and rules committee proceedings,” said Mr. Yates, a convention delegate who was former Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser.

“The results were overwhelmingly in Trump’s favor,” said Mr. Yates. “That, along with the clear collaboration with RNC leaders, leaves no doubt that the campaign and the party are in sync and ready to launch this general election campaign together.”

RNC General Counsel John Ryder said he saw “very good chemistry between the two sets of operatives. We were impressed.”

Why the unprecedented synchronicity?

“Because Trump and the RNC are in total agreement that Trump should be the nominee,” said Mr. Feaman, repeating a refrain among conventiongoers here, intended to rebut impressions that Mr. Trump is persona non grata among the GOP’s best-known leaders.

That impression is fed by a series of snubs of Mr. Trump’s expected coronation: John Kasich, the governor of the state that is hosting the event; the two living former GOP presidents, George H.W. and George W. Bush; and the party’s two previous nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are also no-shows here. And Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will appear only on a prerecorded video.

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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