GOP braces for rules fight that could decide 2016 nomination

What the 2016 rules committee will ultimately decide remains unknowable, as many of the committee’s members have not yet been selected. But the battle lines between Trump and Cruz delegates and the party establishment could be defined later this month.

If the party’s establishment decides it wants to change the convention rules, it would likely do so at its spring meeting in Florida, according to Blackwell. Blackwell noted that RNC chairman Reince Priebus has “a supermajority” on the standing rules committee, and that advantage will likely change when the GOP gathers in Cleveland for a convention filled with Trump and Cruz delegates.

“Reince has the votes to do that if he decides to do it that way,” Blackwell said. “And don’t you believe anybody who says—if it does happen that way—that Reince didn’t decide to do it that way.”

Blackwell sought to change rule 40 against the party establishment’s wishes in 2013 and tried to modify it in January 2016, but failed in both efforts. He said he thinks it’s too late to make such changes now and added that the changes would be both unfair and catastrophic to the party. It’s for this reason that Blackwell said he’s not sure “Priebus is prepared to pull the trigger on such a battle” that could end the party.