By winning Florida’s winner-take-all primary Tuesday night, Donald Trump won his biggest victory of the 2016 election cycle and took a huge step toward the nomination. But ironically, Trump’s win was enabled by GOP insiders who had made the Florida primary winner-take-all last year in a move largely seen as beneficial to former candidates Jeb Bush and Sen. [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore].
Way back in May, 2015, before Trump was on anybody’s political radar, the Florida Republican Party quietly changed the state’s primary rules in an effort to make the state a bigger prize in the coming presidential election. Previously, the state had allocated its delegates proportionally, but party leaders decided to shift to a winner-take-all format, where whoever got the most votes would receive every single one of Florida’s 99 delegates.
When the change was made, Politico described it as likely to be a boon for either Bush or Rubio.
Instead, it provided a huge victory for the candidate who unexpectedly demolished both of them. Trump is in a very tight race to secure the 1237 delegates he needs to be nominated, and Florida’s massive windfall is a critical pickup. If the state were perfectly proportional instead, Trump may have lost 50 delegates or more, and his path to the nomination would be much harder.
If Trump ends up winning the GOP nomination by just a handful of delegates, Florida’s Republican establishment may have nobody to blame but themselves.
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