The Republican establishment will downgrade the significance of early primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to take the wind out of maverick Donald Trump’s sails.

The move is one of several attempts to gain control of the process as Trump turns establishment politics as usual on its head.

From the National Journal:

Re­ince Priebus and the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee have taken drastic steps to re­struc­ture the GOP’s pres­id­en­tial primary pro­cess, in­clud­ing cut­ting the num­ber of de­bates, com­press­ing the nom­in­at­ing sched­ule, and in­tro­du­cing harsh pen­al­ties for can­did­ates and states that vi­ol­ate party rules.

Priebus said “there is un­fin­ished busi­ness he’d hoped to handle ahead of 2016 and ex­pects the party to ad­dress be­fore the next cycle: shak­ing up the early states on the primary cal­en­dar.”

“I don’t think there should ever be any sac­red cows as to the primary pro­cess or the or­der,” he said.

The Republicans are looking to downgrade Trump before he can gain delegates in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary early next year.

The primaries are important because the states are small and campaigning — which Trump has shown to master — can be conducted on a more personal “retail” basis with voters.

In recent elections the two primaries have also gained over half the media attention paid to the entire selection process.

Moreover, the primaries have produced upsets and unexpected gains for candidates.

For instance Lyndon Johnson jettisoned his 1968 reelection bid after performing poorly in the New Hampshire primary while dark horse candidate George McGovern won the nomination in 1972 after unexpected results in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Republican establishment is looking to stack the deck to make sure there are no unexpected and undesirable results that may torpedo their preferred nominee.

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