It was Donald J. Trump, Jr. who made it official. On behalf of the Republican delegation from the Trumps' home state of New York, the Republican nominee's son announced the delegates Donald Trump won in the state, enough to move him past the 1,237 mark needed to hit 50 percent. The crowd applauded; the Trump children, standing around their brother, embraced.
A little while later, Speaker Paul Ryan announced the final delegate count: 1,725 delegates for Trump out of the 2,472 assigned by the party. That's 69.8 percent of the total, meaning that Trump failed to garner 30.2 percent of the vote. That's the highest percentage of the delegate total to oppose the nominee since the contested convention of 1976. It's also the second-highest in a century and the eighth-highest in the history of the Republican party.
In 1976, the fight was between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Ford went on to win the nomination and lose the general election.
If you include only delegates bound to candidates on Tuesday, we'll note, the percentage of delegates bucking the nominee falls to 29.5, and Trump's result becomes only the 10th worst.
That isn't supposed to be what happens anymore. When the parties adopted a more robust primary system that created bound delegates, one of the goals was to hand the decision to the voters -- and to keep the conventions from devolving into televised floor fights. You can see below that past conventions, pre-1976, often had a lot fewer delegates and a lot more defections. After 1976, that's mostly not been the case.
Until the contentious Trump candidacy. The candidate who likes to brag that he set a new record for the most votes received in the Republican primary system (which he did) also failed to get a majority of the Republican vote. He was also the Republican candidate to see the most votes against him over the course of the primaries. He earned about 13 million votes -- and saw about 16 million cast against him, according to the U.S. Election Atlas.
We noted on Monday that there's still a strong anti-Trump sentiment in the GOP. For example:
At the end of the day, that doesn't matter. What matters is that Trump hit the 1,237 mark he needed. It didn't have to be pretty, it just had to happen.
Thanks to his son's final delegate announcement, it did.