The past few cycles, thanks mainly to an uninspiring field of candidates, we’ve heard breathless speculation regarding the potential of a brokered convention determining the Republican presidential nominee. And it never came to be.
Except this time with the strongest GOP field in decades, it’s a real possibility if you look at the party rules and the allocation of delegates.
A total of 14 states will vote their preference for president on March 1, aka “Super Tuesday.” No doubt making it one of the pivotal days on the primary calendar. But just how super those states can actually be is dictated by the proportional allocation of their 689 total delegates.
That’s just one reason why the road to 1,237 delegates – the magic number needed to secure the nomination – is perhaps more uncertain than ever. Although new rules were put in place by the RNC to help get control of the front end of the presidential nomination calendar, the backend of 2016’s race for the White House is increasingly looking like a tug of war that might not be settled in time for July’s convention.
Party rules require a presidential candidate to have won the majority of delegates in at least eight states/territories (there are 56 total contests on the primary calendar) in order to have one’s name submitted for nomination at the convention. Thus, the less convincing Super Tuesday is for a field with two consistently front-running candidates (Donald Trump and Ted Cruz), and a handful of stragglers that refuse to go away, the less likely it is that even the winner-take-all states and territories that begin kicking in on March 15 will be able to close the deal.
No state/territory is permitted to hold a strictly winner-take-all contest until March 15, but by that time almost half of the contests would’ve already occurred. Making matters more chaotic, as it seems with most things in politics, the definitions of terms are malleable. In this case the terms “winner-take-all” and “proportional.”
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