The party's goals are two-fold: They want their nominating process to test their candidate without inflicting fatal wounds, and they want to allow enough time for the best possible candidate to rise to the top. After a years-long process to reform the system that concluded last summer, Republicans thought they had their solution -- four states would hold early contests, and any state that violated the agreed-upon calendar would face stiff penalties.
But, as it turns out, the incentive to hold contests early in the process, and thereby have a bigger influence in the process, outweighed the threat of losing half of a delegation. By the time the process concluded, five states violated party rules by moving their contests ahead of their allotted space on the calendar.
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