A rule Republicans created in 2012 to protect their establishment candidate from an outsider is shaping up in 2016 as a benefit for Donald Trump, a candidate the establishment loathes. The rule requires that a candidate has to have won the majority of delegates in at least eight states to qualify for the nomination, and it was designed to block Ron Paul from a prominent role at the 2012 Republican National Convention, leaving Mitt Romney uncontested. Fast forward to now, and Trump is the only candidate who qualifies so far. And so …
All four early appointees of the rules committee for this year’s Republican convention told POLITICO they’re prepared to weaken or scrap a rule that could limit the convention’s alternatives to Donald Trump. […]
“I’m not a big fan of the eight-state threshold. I think that’s an artificial number,” said David Wheeler, a rules committee member from
Dakota. “It was designed to prevent Ron Paul delegates — their votes from being counted. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that this year.”
These are just four out of an eventual 112 members who will be appointed to the rules committee, and they’re urging caution to avoid looking like they’re stealing the nomination from Trump. But unless Ted Cruz picks up the pace, this rule is going to have to change if the #NeverTrump crowd is going to get its way—and even if Cruz does qualify, there will be plenty of powerful Republicans who want the door opened to other choices.
In short, the question is how far the Republican establishment will go to deny Trump—and possibly Cruz as well—the nomination, and how much chaos will ensue.