GOP Prepares for 2016
The real question remains, however, whether the party learned anything from 2012.
All politics may be local, but the process of selecting the 2016 Republican presidential nominee just got a national tweak. The Republican National Committee (RNC) this week voted 153-9 to modify the primary rules, protecting the cherished early-primary voting of some states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada), while creating disincentives for early voting in other states. As The Hill reports, “The four designated early states will be required to hold their contests in February. States that vote between March 1 and March 14 will be required to award their delegates proportionally, weakening their impact, while states with primaries after that will assign their delegates in a winner-take-all contest, making them much more consequential in the delegate count and adding an incentive to wait.”
Rule-breaking states will be penalized by netting far fewer delegates at the nominating convention. In other words, the cold shoulder Florida received in 2012 for holding an early primary could turn into a much worse penalty in 2016. The new rules – combined with the RNC’s plan for an earlier national convention – could mean an earlier finalization of the Republican nominee.
The jury is still out on whether this will prove beneficial for the GOP in 2016. But many in the party blame the brutal primary process in 2012 for weakening Mitt Romney, thereby aiding Barack Obama’s re-election effort. Romney’s loss is far more complicated than that, however, which leaves us wondering: Did the GOP learn any lessons?