New Republican primary rules are going to make it basically impossible for any candidate to wrap up the Republican nomination very early in 2012. In fact, the new Republican primary rules make a "brokered convention" much more likely and they also make it much more likely that the Republican establishment will attempt to steal the nomination away from a candidate that they do not like. How exactly they would do this will be discussed later in the article. The key is that most Republican primaries and caucuses will now allocate delegates using a proportional system rather than a "winner take all" system. Back in 2008, John McCain did very well in early "winner take all" primaries and wrapped up the Republican nomination very, very quickly. Nothing like that will happen in 2012. In fact, if the field remains crowded it is going to be very difficult for any candidate to accumulate more than 50 percent of the delegates by the time the Republican national convention rolls around. As will be discussed later on in this article, that would move the power into the hands of the Republican establishment.
First, let's try to understand what these new changes are. Sadly, it appears that even most Republican voters do not understand how things have changed.
The following rule was adopted by the Republican Party back in August 2010....
"Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purpose of selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first day of April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis."
This new rule means that delegates will be apportioned to candidates on a proportional basis in Republican caucuses and primaries that are conducted prior to April 1st. One notable exception to this rule is Florida, which got approval to remain a "winner take all" state. So Florida will be very important.
In addition, all of the states that are now using "proportional representation" do not allocate delegates the exact same way. Each state has slightly different election rules.
But in general, in most of the primaries and caucuses held before April 1st, delegates will be awarded to multiple candidates instead of to just a single candidate.
Therefore, it now becomes much less important who wins each individual state. Instead, the key is how many delegates a candidate picks up in each state.
The Republicans decided to go to such a system after watching the extended battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008. The following comes from a recent Huffington Post article....