Ummm. Not so much. Why?
Well, first, listen to Mike Duncan’s lukewarm statement, as reported by Jonathan Martin:
Letters went out this morning warning New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming that they were "on notice," Duncan said in a conference call with reporters.
Duncan did, though, emphasize that the move was a preliminary one. ""We always believe in redemption," he said.
Second, the candidates aren’t taking it seriously:
Republicans have been far less aggressive about punishing states that are holding contests outside the window and Duncan sought to drive that point home, noting that they were only taking away half the delegates of the five states as opposed to the Democrats who are stripping Michigan and Florida of all their delegates.
The rebuke from the party is also undercut by the candidates themselves. Unlike the Democratic hopefuls who’ve pledged not to, each of the top GOP contenders is campaigning in Michigan and Florida.
Third, there’s actually a process. Jonathan Martin’s update says:
Two clarifications. First, the ultimate decision will be made at the Republican convention next September by the delegates there. …
More broadly, and I get at this above, few plugged-in Republicans think that these states will, in the end, be punished by losing half their delegates. Whoever the nominee is won’t to, upon accepting the nomination, invite any undue headaches by ticking off such key general election states.
Let’s be super-anal-specific here. The RNC’s Executive Committee made a recommendation to the RNC. Which will have a meeting in January or …. February? Maybe after February 5th? When a nominee is basically clear. And that RNC meeting will be an opportunity for people to come together.
At that point the RNC is supposed to vote to recommend stripping states of delegates? After the nominee is picked, when there is absolutely no significance to the vote whatsoever? You are kidding me right? And then the Chair is going to go through with it? Even though it is irrelevant?
This is never going to happen. It won’t even get to the nominee.