The process for selecting delegates to the Republican National Convention is confusing. There is a patchwork of rules and processes across 50 states, 5 territories and the District of Columbia. On top of that there are the rules of the Republican Convention itself.
A lot of media and talking heads refer to these convention rules and the possibility that they will be changed to deny Donald Trump the nomination.
The fact is that these rules don’t actually exist yet so they can’t be changed at all. Each convention writes its own rules in a process that begins just weeks before the convention itself.
That doesn’t mean that the rules won’t be written to deny Trump, only that they won’t be re-written for that purpose.
All of which brings us to the strange case of North Dakota. North Dakota is one of the rare cases where the delegates aren’t bound to support any one candidate. All of the ND delegates go into the convention officially unpledged.
Slate picks the story up from there…
Unlike the vast majority of states and territories, North Dakota Republicans don’t hold a primary or caucus to award national delegates to the candidates. Instead, they meet to choose from a list of state party officials and local party activists that are then sent to the national convention to vote for whomever they please. State party bigwigs maintain that gives their delegation more power—presumably because candidates would have to woo them at a contested convention—and defeated a motion that would have bound the delegates to a candidate.
That left the outcome of Sunday’s vote cloudy at best, though of the three, Cruz had the strongest claim to having the best weekend. His boast of victory was based on the fact that 18 of the 25 delegates selected were on a list of options that his team circulated to loyalists ahead of the vote.