Tags: GOP2016 | Mitt Romney | 2012 | 2016 | GOP | convention | nomination

WSJ: 2012 GOP Rule Change Could 'Upend' 2016 Nomination

By    |   Friday, 10 July 2015 10:09 AM

A procedural rule change adopted at the 2012 Republican National Convention amending how many delegates are needed to win the party nomination could "upend" the GOP’s nomination process, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Before 2012, in order to be qualify for the nomination, a candidate had to have the written support of a "plurality" of the delegates from at least five states, according to RedState.com.

At the convention in Tampa that year, the rule was changed to require a presidential candidate to have the support of a "majority" of the delegates from at least eight states.

According to RedState, the catalyst for the 2012 rule change was Mitt Romney, who the website states "broke all precedent and used his power as the coming nominee to change the rules, to centralize power in the hands of the establishment, and to make it very much harder for any power in the party to flow from the bottom up."

With such a crowded 2016 field, winning a majority of delegates in any state may be problematic.

"When this rule change was made in Tampa, there was no way to anticipate four years later that there would be the largest number of Republican presidential candidates running all being on the varsity team," GOP fundraiser Rick Hohlt told the Journal. "It is a serious problem, but a good one to have, if you are the RNC chairman."

At the time of the rule change, strategists offered valid arguments both for and against it, writes Journal political reporter Patrick O’Connor.

"Some have suggested this rule might help winnow the field, as a de facto shortcut to winning the nomination, if the delegate math becomes a little blurry," he writes. "But critics have argued the rule might prevent some candidates with a sizable share of delegates from qualifying for the nomination. Some go a step further, suggesting the rule may upend the entire nominating process if no candidate claims more than half the delegates in eight states, or if multiple candidates clear that bar."

The rule is not set in stone, O’Connor points out, and the RNC Rules Committee can make changes when it meets in Cleveland the week before the party convention there next year.

There are several options.

Committee members can "simply vote to change the number of states needed to qualify," according to O’Connor, or "they can raise or lower the threshold of states in which the eventual nominee needs a majority of the delegates. Or, they can scrap the requirement entirely. The candidate with the most delegates will control this process."

Getting the committee to agree may not be as easy as it sounds, he continues, noting that "even small tweaks can provoke a spirited backlash, especially if a presidential nomination is on the line."

"These questions may seem a little silly and premature, but the smartest campaigns are already trying to game out scenarios like this one as they look for an edge in this historically crowded field that includes a half-dozen top-tier candidates but no obvious front-runner."

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A procedural rule change adopted at the 2012 Republican National Convention amending how many delegates are needed to win the party nomination could "upend" the GOP's nomination process, according to The Wall Street Journal.
2012, 2016, GOP, convention, nomination, Mitt Romney
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2015-09-10
Friday, 10 July 2015 10:09 AM
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