Maybe they did learn something in 2012. A GOP panel laid out an easier path for favored candidates, with a fast primary schedule and strict penalties for states that don’t fall in line.
By a voice vote, the rules committee of the Republican National Committee adopted a package Thursday designed to speed up the presidential-nomination process so that the GOP could be better able to defeat, in the words of RNC general counsel John Ryder, “she who must not named.”
The panel adopted a three-pronged proposal to lead to a consolidated and streamlined nomination process in 2016. The RNC reinforced that only four states would be allowed to hold nominating contests before the beginning of March—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada—by adding stringent penalties for states that might jump the gun. In 2012, states that held primary contests earlier than allowed lost half their delegates; the new rule mandates that they will be left with at most 12 delegates at the 2016 convention, a change that could cause states like Florida to lose more than 100 votes.
The change also shortens the process considerably, leaving most primaries to be held in a tight window between March 1 and late May, depending on the timing of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
These rules passed relatively easily despite vociferous complaints from Morton Blackwell, a deeply conservative RNC committee member from Virginia and a perpetual gadfly at these events. Blackwell complained that these changes would make it harder for a grassroots candidate to catch fire and easier for an establishment candidate to steamroll through the process. He was right; that was the point.