Rules for the Republican national Convention are at this link. (Rule 40 is on page 20.)
This rule is about who gets to be formally nominated before the voting by delegates begins and who gets to have a nominating speech.
Here is the key part of rule 40:
Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination.
Satisfy rule 40 and someone gets to nominate you and give a speech. Do not satisfy rule 40 and no one gives you a speech.
But Robert’s Rules govern the convention, and per Robert’s Rules delegates are not limited to voting for someone that has been formally nominated per RNC rule 40.
And indeed many of the delegates are bound by party rules to vote on the first ballot for the candidate they were pledged to by the primary election that made them delegates. Rule 40 does not release a delegate from his pledge. Also, delegates may pass or abstain as they wish if they are not bound.
There is no reason to get excited about rule 40. No reason to get excited about rule 40 if it is changed. We will have more or we will have less speechifying and that is all.
Get votes from at least 1,237 delegates and you are the GOP candidate for the general election regardless of whether or not you got nominated at the convention before the delegates voted.
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