Tag Archives: proportionality

Preparing for 2020

While there is still plenty of time left in the 2016 election, discussion has already started about the rules for the 2020 election.  Changes to the delegate selection process tends to be driven by “fixing” what the party sees as the problem in the last election cycle.  For example, a lot of the changes on the Republican side (e.g., the binding rules, penalties for states violating the rules) were driven by what the party leadership thought went wrong in 2012 — Ron Paul doing better at state conventions than he did on caucus nights, states violating the timing and proportionality rules.

The two parties are at different stages of the process for modifying the procedures for 2020.  For the Republicans, the process for convening the next convention is part of the party rules .  Normally, the rules can only be amended at the convention.  In 2012, the convention granted limited “one time only” authority to the Republican National Committee to change the process.  Given the difficulty of making changes on the fly during a convention, it is likely that the Republicans might give the RNC this power again.  For the Democrats, the actual drafting of the rules for the next convention is done by the Democratic National Committee after the convention.  Typically, the most that has happened during the nomination process is an agreement to have a study commission to look at revisions to the rules.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

When the Republicans re-wrote the rules for 2016, they shortened the proportionality window — from a full month to two weeks.  That led to several states with Republican legislatures and Republican governors opting for a March 15 primary date — the first day on which Republican state parties can hold a primary that does not follow the proportionality rules.  In particular, the Florida Republican Party (listening to suggestions from the Bush and Rubio campaigns) opted for a winner-take-all primary.  What looked great in 2014 and early 2015, now looks quite differently after last night’s results.

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