As Donald Trump and Ted Cruz continue to battle for delegates to the Republican National Convention, Tim Alberta of National Review Online explains the importance of the upcoming debate over convention rules.

The Standing Committee on Rules will take center stage this week at the RNC’s spring meeting in Florida. Reporters, convention delegates, and campaign officials will hover over the group’s gathering, ready to seize on the slightest proposed tweak to recommendations that could govern the GOP during July’s convention and for the next four years.

But they are likely to be disappointed. According to interviews with a dozen RNC officials, the most urgent conversations and significant debates this week will take place privately on the sidelines of the spring meeting, far away from the microscope of the Rules Committee.

Members of that panel know they are being scrutinized, as rumor and misinformation spread rapidly about their ability to alter the GOP’s rules ahead of the convention. Speculation over such last-minute changes reached a fever pitch last week: Some Rules Committee members held a series of calls to warn against changes at the upcoming meeting. Others responded by leaking agenda items, sparking news stories about proposals that have no chance of being adopted. And RNC Chairman Reince Priebus met privately Monday evening with an influential collection of conservative leaders who were concerned about Rule 40(b), the elimination of which could endanger their favored candidate, Ted Cruz, at a contested convention. …

So will we see changes to the party’s rules this week?

No, because the rules can’t be changed this week.

This is important to understand: The only time the Republican party’s rules can be officially rewritten and adopted is every four years at its national convention. That duty falls first to the convention’s Committee on Rules, a group of 112 members — one man and one woman from each of the 50 states and six territories, elected by members of their convention delegations.

They meet the week prior to the convention and are tasked with approving the package of rules that will govern not only the convention but also the Republican party for the ensuing four years. Once a package is passed by a majority of the committee, it must be ratified by a majority of the convention delegates on the floor. Then, and only then, does the Republican party have an official set of rules by which to operate.