Rachel Maddow says recent revisions in the GOP primary process are responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.
On the eve of Super Tuesday, the MSNBC host revisited the last presidential election, when a prolonged series of GOP debates—which began over a year and a half before Americans voted—resulted in the current, shortened primary debate schedule.
Maddow recounted how the Republican party, following Mitt Romney’s loss in his presidential campaign, suspected their primary process was to blame for the conservative defeat. So they changed it. The debate schedule was shortened from 20 debates to a list of events that was “sanctioned by the party.” And in order to prevent a situation where a clear nominee, like Romney, had to “slog on” alongside candidates with lesser potential, the calendar was also truncated.
On the “front end,” the GOP also reallocated delegates so that a front runner could lock the nomination earlier, making it harder for challengers to compete. As Maddow, observed “that would be an excellent change to apply retroactively to the 2012 process that chose Mitt Romney,” but has consequences today (Donald Trump) when the nominee is chosen by “all white, deeply conservative hardcore Republican voters across the American South.”
Ironically, one of the primary debates scheduled in 2011 was set to be moderated by Trump. At the time, the choice of the reality television star was “so controversial, so noxious to all of the Republican candidates that year,” including Mitt Romney, that no major contenders RSVPed, resulting in the event's cancellation.
“To be sure, Mr. Trump’s participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere,” a spokesperson for Ron Paul said at the time.
Fast-forward to 2016, and the “circus-like atmosphere” has become a reality of the GOP primary debates.
Watch The Rachel Maddow Show segment below.