Four years ago, the Republican National Committee was frustrated. The 2012 primary had dragged on for months. The states couldn’t make up their minds. And the party ended up with Mitt Romney, bruised by attack ads even before the Democrats got their first swing.
Republicans agreed this couldn’t happen again. To beat Hillary Clinton, they’d need a strong candidate fast, without all the intraparty bloodletting a protracted primary can bring.
So they built the 2016 primary calendar. It’s slimmer. It slaps down states trying to move elections earlier. And by emphasizing a delegate-allocation system that matches how Republicans actually voted, leaders reasoned the party would gracefully winnow through competition and pick a nominee with a minimum of fuss.
That theory now sports one giant Trump-shaped hole. The billionaire’s towering lead is bolstered by the very system that was meant to prevent a candidate like him from ever making headway. It’ll go down as one of the biggest ironies in recent political history.
Proportional delegate acquisition has actually worked against the Republicans this cycle as it has not reduced the vitriol from each candidate, especially as Trump has managed to rewrite the rules in this race. If anyone watched the Republican debate from University of Houston, you could see how it devolve into a slur match easily architected by Donald Trump.
The idea is sound. Proportional delegates and slimming down the calendar should in theory have been good. However, as always, it comes down to the implementation. As the Atlantic points out, somebody really just enjoyed solving cryptic puzzles and because there is such a large variation on who will win the delegates (as it no longer completely tied to the popular vote), vitriol has only increased.
Either ways, Super Tuesday is going to be interesting.