11/24/2015—All along I assumed that Trump—and Carson also—were a joke. Yesterday, Paul Krugman posted a blog entry that Trump really could win, citing more detailed poll numbers.
I did not take Krugman seriously. It was the sort of thing that he would say in order to make fun of the Republican Party.
But today I looked at the rules of the Republican primary voting. These rules were tweaked in 2014 to avoid another lengthy primary battle, thus weakening the eventual nominee.
Well, the unintended consequence of the rule changes is that Trump could win, because States that hold primaries after March 15 will award delegates on a winner-take-all basis. Right now, Trump presumably leads in several of these states, as he does in Republican national polls. If 25% is enough for first place, it could be Trump. A Sweep on March 15—Florida, North Carolina, Ohio—might put Trump in a commanding delegate lead.
Here are the rules: The first states to hold primaries, as usual, will be Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Voters in those states will go to the polls in February under the party rules passed in 2014.
States that hold their primaries between March 1 and March 14, 2016, will award their delegates on a proportional basis, meaning that no one candidate could likely win the nomination before late-voting states get to hold their primaries.
States voting on March 15, 2016, or later will award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis.