The new rules that the Republican Party put in place after Mitt Romney's defeat for the White House in 2012 has raised fears that they are not leading to the streamlined and speedy nomination process that party officials had hoped.
And GOP supporters and strategists fear that the rules could lead front-runner Donald Trump to capturing the nomination or otherwise win enough delegates to be a major power player at next year's convention in Cleveland, The New York Times reports.
"You’ve got a set of unintended consequences that weren’t planned for," Richard Hohlt, a Republican donor and Washington lobbyist, told the Times. "So it’s going to be harder for a candidate to get to the magic number, which could open up the process to a convention situation."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus announced the rule changes last year based on a study begun after Romney's drubbing by President Barack Obama.
Priebus told Newsmax
in January 2014 that the rules, which were adopted later that year, "will allow enough opportunity for candidates to make the case to voters at primaries and state conventions, but not enough time for them to slice and dice each other.
"I can't always control people's mouths," Priebus added. "But I can take responsible steps to keep people from killing each other."
But these rules have been overtaken by such factors as a widespread anger among voters at Washington and campaign finance laws that could allow candidates backed by wealthy private groups, like former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, to remain in the race even if they do not do well in early nominating states, the Times reports.
Trump also is financing his own campaign — and that also could make him a player in the long run, strategists said.
"There is a bubble of delusion among Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., with regard to their parties’ respective nominating processes," said Steve Schmidt, who advised Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential run in 2008. "There is no magic date upon which the air will come out of the Donald Trump balloon.
"The notion that Donald Trump cannot be the Republican nominee is completely and totally wrong."
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