Is It Over for #NeverTrump? Some Resigned Republicans Fall in Line Behind Trump While Others Burn Their Voter Registration Cards

#NeverTrump Over? Republicans Lose Hope of Contested Convention Stopping Trump
Donald Trump
Seth Wenig/AP

05/04/2016 AT 01:20 PM EDT

Republicans in the #NeverTrump camp had hung their hopes on a contested convention barring Donald Trump from becoming the nominee – but has that dream, as conservative blogger Matt Drudge tweeted, "evaporated in the corn fields of Indiana"?

The GOP front-runner became the presumptive GOP nominee Tuesday night when, after winning the Indiana primary, his sole legitimate rival, Ted Cruz, dropped out of the race.

Trump said he spoke with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus Tuesday night and the chairman, who himself has had a strained relationship with Trump, confirmed that the billionaire businessman's name would be on the ballot in November.

Calling for #NeverTrumpers to fall in line behind the newly named nominee, and throwing his weight behind a #Never movement of his own, Priebus tweeted, ".@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton."



Trump endorser Sarah Palin also called for party unity, posting a video on Facebook in which she said, "GOP and independents and smart Democrats, truly it is time to come together. We've needed a revolution and we found a revolutionary ... Here we go, on the road to making America great again!"

Some resistance is already crumbling. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte officially announced her support for Trump Wednesday morning. The rising Republican had been asked for months whether she would back the real estate mogul, but her spokeswoman Liz Johnson would only say that the senator "intends to support the Republican nominee. However, she would like to see how the process plays out." On Wednesday Johnson told WMUR.com in a statement, "As she's said from the beginning, Kelly plans to support the nominee."

And longtime Republican operative Ed Rollins on Tuesday joined a pro-Trump super PAC, The Wall Street Journal reports. "It's time for the party to unify, and I am going to do my part," said Rollins, who helped run President Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign. "I don't want to roll over and play dead. I want to beat Hillary Clinton, and I don't want to lose the Senate."



There's still a chance – albeit an extremely slim one – that a contested convention could stop Trump. According to TIME, before the event starts on July 18, the convention will gather to decide the rules. "These rules can even be changed to knock a potential nominee out of contention by making them ineligible, no matter how many votes they got in the primary … but when the convention starts a majority of delegates have to vote to approve the new rules – so they can't be too crazy."

But Priebus' declaration and Cruz's sudden exit has effectively ended talk of a contested convention. Tuesday night virtually ensured that Trump will win the 1,237 delegates needed before the convention this summer, and most commentators agree a last-minute bending of the rules is unlikely.

Nevertheless, some conservative bloggers and thought leaders are determined to keep the #NeverTrump movement alive – even if it means voting for Hillary Clinton. Many took to social media after Trump's Tuesday night win to say #I'mWithHer, the hashtag for Clinton's campaign, or to show photos of themselves destroying their Republican voter registration cards.

One of John McCain's closest former strategists tweeted:



A contributor for the conservative blog RedState.com said:





The editor of The Washington Examiner declared:



Lachlan Markey, a Free Beacon writer, burned his voter registration card:



And he wasn't the only one:







A recent Morning Consult poll of Cruz supporters showed that 13 percent of Republicans who back him will vote for Clinton over Trump, and that more than one-quarter of them don't know who to back.

Leon Wolf, the editor of RedState.com, told The Daily Beast that he's considering voting for Clinton.

"If it's a competitive election, I probably will be compelled to vote for Hillary," he said. "Hillary is ideologically not where I am. But I do feel pretty confident that she would actually be a better president than Trump. I wouldn't go to bed every night worrying about a mushroom cloud opening up somewhere in the world because of some insane thing Trump had done."

Others still are behind both the #NeverTrump and the #NeverHillary movements.

"I will not vote for either Hillary or Trump, ever," a RedState editor, Dan McLaughlin, told The Daily Beast. "I will stay in the GOP to fight for its soul until a viable alternative emerges." He added that he would submit a "third-party protest vote" and vote "down-ticket Republican" in November.

But Trump seems confident most Republicans will come around – and says some already have.

"They are calling now," he said Tuesday night, according to The New York Times. "And they are calling to say, 'We'd love to get on the train.' The Trump train. We have a lot of people coming."
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