Alive, I’d say. Clearly the campaign thus far has been a disaster for Giuliani, but if he can win Florida, his swoon will be quickly forgotten. Here’s why: The rules for the Florida primary have been changed by the state Republican Party in response to the Republican National Committee’s decision to penalize the state half of its delegates for moving its primary up to January 29. This is the text of Rule M, reported by the Atlantic Monthly’s political blogger, Marc Armbinder:
In the event that the RNC imposes the 50 percent delegate cut, Florida’s 57 delegates will be Winner Takes All, selected by the Chairman (as opposed to current hybrid of selection by Congressional District caucuses and At Large appointments), and the WTA delegates will bound to that winner for the first 3 rounds of voting.
Normally, Florida’s primary is winner-take-all by congressional district, a method that can produce an indecisive result in a multi-candidate field. If Giuliani were to win under the old rules, such a victory would give him momentum, but it would not produce a lot of delegates. If he can win under Rule M, he will get all 57 delegates, and he would be not only alive but formidable going into Super Tuesday. Armbinder points out that behind-the-scenes work by the Giuliani forces have resulted in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware primaries on February 5 being winner-take-all as well. Don’t count Giuliani out. His rope-a-dope strategy may yet work out. Or he will be the dope.