But everything else in the new rules works in favor of wrapping up the process quickly, rather than letting it play out over time. Indeed, the Priebus plan would require all states to choose their convention representatives at least 45 days before the convention – in other words, by mid to late May. Several states require delegates to be chosen after this date.
Conservatives worried about these changes can point to history. If these rules had been in effect in 1976, for instance, Ronald Reagan’s challenge to sitting president Gerald Ford — and perhaps his presidential career — would have died aborning, and the Republican party itself might never have achieved its greatest triumphs. In that bicentennial year, Reagan lost Iowa to Ford on January 19. It was a whole month afterwards before they battled again, in New Hampshire — where Ford eked out a narrow victory. In slow motion Reagan then lost Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, and Illinois. If more primaries had been condensed into a short time frame, as the new rules promote, Reagan would have been toast.