Earlier this week FHQ began an examination of Republican proportionality rules changes for the 2016 presidential election cycle. On the most basic level, the Republican National Committee 1) cut the proportionality window in half for 2016 as compared to 2012 and 2) narrowed its 2012 definition of what constitutes a proportional delegate selection event for the 2016 cycle. Theoretically, the former would cut down on the number of proportional states while the latter would increase that number.1
Having established that as a baseline understanding of the differences between the 2012 and 2016 rules, the focus can now turn to the implications of those changes. In other words, now that the RNC has changed the mandate on proportionality, how will the states and state parties adapt their 2012 delegate selection plans in order to remain compliant? Four years ago, after the RNC first introduced the proportionality requirement, most states took the path of least resistance. Assuming state Republican parties had a baseline/traditional method of allocating delegates to the national convention (and of binding those delegates based on the presidential preference expressed in the primaries and caucuses) in 2008, then in response, the majority of states made the smallest changes possible to remain rules-compliant in 2012.