Opinion: How to stop Trump from becoming the GOP nominee again

Paul E. Peterson
Year of publication: 
January 05, 2023

To keep extremism at bay, Republicans need to use proportional representation as the method for selecting delegates to their 2024 presidential convention. Current rules have a strong winner-take-all bias – designed in many states to create horserace elections, in which the candidate who wins the most votes in any given state, wins all, or most of, the delegates from that state.

Horserace rules helped former President Donald Trump win the 2016 Republican nomination, and horserace rules could make Trump the 2024 Republican frontrunner. In 2016, facing over a dozen Republican contenders, Trump won only a plurality, rather than a majority, of primary voters. Because of state winner-take-all rules, Trump was able to turn the 45% of the votes he won into the primary into the support of 70% of the delegates to the GOP convention.

Approaching 2024, the former president retains a loyal, if limited, constituency, and the most promising alternative to Trump could find votes siphoned off to as many as a dozen “anyone but Trump” candidates. If multiple states run horseraces, Trump can be expected to win a majority of the delegates despite capturing only a minority of the primary vote – leaving him yet again with an excellent chance of winning all or most of the delegates in these states.

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