See, in the Northern Marianas, Tuesday began 14 hours before it began on the East Coast. So its Super Threesday caucus was done overnight, and Trump won all nine delegates. In doing so, the Northern Marianas became the eighth state or territory in which Trump won a majority of the delegates. (The others: South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Hawaii and Mississippi.) And according to the rules of the Republican convention, a candidate must “demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination.” No eight states, no nomination.
That’s the fabled Rule 40, which governs how the nomination process works, down to the length of time allotted candidates who wish to speak to their nominations. The eight-state thing is in section B of the rule, and is a pretty high bar to meet. (The party’s rules count territories as states under Rule 1.) After all, it’s not that Trump hasn’t won at least eight states; he has. But only in eight (including the Marianas) does he have a majority of delegates. In the others he has won — New Hampshire, Nevada, Arkansas, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Michigan — he has a plurality of delegates. Not good enough.