Monday, February 8, 2016

Your guide to the Republican primaries

The presidential nominating process is the most intricate and arcane part of our political system, perhaps because it’s the only bit not addressed in the Constitution.

The two major parties have held national conventions to choose presidential and vice presidential nominees for more than 150 years, Democrats starting in 1832 and Republicans in 1856.

But most delegates to those conventions have been chosen in primary elections only since 1972. This year’s Republican contest will be just the seventh open-seat contest since then with no incumbent president running, and so old rules of thumb may not apply. The Republican National Committee has also scheduled the first contests later, in February, and the national convention earlier, in July, and decided that delegates should be awarded proportionally to candidates’ votes in contests held before March 15....