Monday, March 07, 2016

The GOP Establishment Has to Rewrite the Nomination Rules to Win

The GOP establishment's second-best hope, John Kasich:
"In order to be the nominee, you have to have a certain number of votes," Kasich said. "Not like, a plurality. You’ve got to have a certain number. You know, it’s like anything else in life, there’s certain rules. You take a driving test, you don’t pass the driving test, you don’t get your license. It’s not like, well, that’s good enough for government. You’ve got to win. You don’t just say, 'Well, I have more than anybody else, therefore I’m in.' "
Yeah, there are certain rules to the GOP nomination process. Like that rule that you can only be nominated as a presidential candidate from the convention floor if you have won a majority in at least eight states in the primaries/caucuses.  So far only Trump has passed the eight-state threshold with 12 wins. Cruz has 6, so he will probably have two more before the race is over assuming he does not drop out. Rubio has won only 2 (and it's only 1 if we can really only count "states," since one of his two was Puerto Rico) and Kasich has won zero.

The only state that Kasich has a good chance of winning is Ohio, where recent polls have shown trailing Trump, although only by a relatively small %. (pdf). 538 gives him a 44% chance of winning there. As far as I can tell, that's the only state that gives Kasich any real shot. Of course, his chances could improve if Rubio drops out (even then, the odds are probably against Rubio getting to 8), but Rubio is probably thinking the same thing and hoping that Kasich drops out.

The 8-state rule would rule out any dark horse establishment candidate like Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney.

The only real hope for a non-Cruz/non-Trump nominee is if the rules are changed and the 8-state rule is repealed. But once they are open to changing the rules, it is not clear why they would bother to stop with just a repeal of the 8-state rule. Why not completely rule out a Trump and Cruz candidacy by making the rule that the nominee can only be someone who doesn't win any states? Sure the rank-and-file party members would flip out if they did that, but they are going to flip out if the clear primary/caucus front runner is denied the nomination because of any rule change.