Skip to comments.It's Time to Change the Presidential Nomination Process
Posted on 01/08/2008 9:32:59 AM PST by 2nd amendment mama
Over the years, there have been attempts by some members of the Republican National Committee to change the process by which the GOP presidential nominee is determined. Years ago, there was talk of "smoke filled rooms" at the national convention in which deals would be hashed out to determine a nominee. As the years went on, the state primary/caucus elections become more powerful, and the nominee was determined long before the convention.
The change from "smoke filled rooms" to putting the power in the hands of the voters was a good thing. However, a new set of dynamics has been created which hurts the process and again requires changes. States at the end of the primary schedule were becoming irrelevant. So, more and more states began "front loading" the primaries -- moving them up in the schedule. As more and more states have their primaries earlier and earlier, the race for the nomination becomes a defacto national election instead of a state by state contest as it should be.
With so many primary elections and caucuses up front, only candidates with serious reserves of cash or media attention can compete. There is no time to build momentum and use that momentum to help generate new funds. Here is how the months of January and February are laid out in 2008 for state primary elections and caucuses:
January 3 -- Iowa
January 5 -- Wyoming
January 8 -- New Hampshire
January 15 -- Michigan
January 19 -- Nevada, South Carolina
January 29 -- Florida
February 1 -- Main
February 5 (Super Tuesday) -- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, West Virginia
February 9 -- Louisiana, Kansas
February 12 -- Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia
February 19 -- Washington, Wisconsin
That is a total of thirty-four states plus the District of Columbia which will hold their elections before March.
In addition to eliminating "front loading," something should also be done to reduce the artificially inflated importance of the results in Iowa and New Hampshire. These two states often spell doom for a candidate who doesn't get off to a fast start, yet these two states provide only a small fraction of the delegates needed to secure the nomination. No candidate's bid for the presidency should be determined by how he or she finished in one state, yet that's exactly what we see now from the media. They pronounce gloom and doom or anoint an heir apparent after one or two contests. That is not fair and not right.
So, what can be done about it? A number of proposals have been floated by various Republican activists and party leaders. As noted in a story by the Austin American-Statesman, some of those proposals include the following:
Texas plan: Primaries would be spaced from February through May, with states and territories broken into four groups taking turns starting off the presidential election years. Under the plan, each group of states and territories is balanced by a similar share of electoral votes, convention delegates and states won by either the Republican or Democratic presidential nominees the previous election. Texas voters would act at the same time as voters in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Delaware plan: States broken into four groups by population. The smallest 12 states, plus federal territories, would vote first, followed by the next smallest 13 states, then the 13 medium-size states and finally the 12 largest states.
Rotating regional primaries: The National Association of Secretaries of State has endorsed regional primaries, with the order of regions changing every election cycle. While ensuring that all states in a given 20-year period would have a chance to be among the first primary dates, it would make retail politicking, or meeting voters individually, very difficult.
American plan: Also known as the California plan, it suggests randomly selecting states to hold their primaries or caucuses over 10 two-week intervals, with a gradual increase in the total population of states and territories holding primaries/caucuses.
Of those current plans being discussed each has merit and offers an approach to changing a broken system. However, something like the Delaware Plan makes the most sense. I would even consider using more groups than just four.
Under the Delaware plan, smaller states would go first in the process. This is a good practice in that 1) the smaller states (other than Iowa and New Hampshire) often get overlooked, and 2) candidates don't have to worry about a large bankroll so early in the process. Success in smaller states has just as much to do with organization as it does with money -- e.g. Mike Huckabee in Iowa. Candidates with lower name ID and money but who have a good message would have a better shot at scoring a victory or high finish and using those results to build some momentum and generate fundraising interest.
Then the candidates would move along to slightly larger states. More delegates would be at stake, but as the size of the state increases, the strategies for campaigning also change. Money becomes much more important, and candidates would have had more time under the Delaware Plan to raise money if they generated voter interest.
Former Republican National Committee member John Ryder was quoted in the Memphis Daily News as saying he sees "clear skies ahead for a reordering of the presidential primary process starting in 2012." Ryder, who advocates the Delaware Plan, noted:
"Nobody would be able to assemble a majority of the delegates until they got to that last group of states, which means that every state is in play," Ryder said. "The principal problem with the present system is that only the early states seem to count. If you hold a primary in May or June under the present system, it doesn't matter. The nominee has already been selected. The primary becomes irrelevant."
Regardless of what plan is adopted, the process definitely needs to change. By spacing out the process and going from smaller to larger states, more candidates could compete, more states would be involved, and a nominee more representative of the will of the entire Republican electorate around the country would be more likely to emerge.
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“States at the end of the primary schedule were becoming irrelevant.”
Especially when the MSM declares winners long before the process is over.
I think you would have to change the constitution, if I’m right, because basically, the states dictate this, along with parties.
The FEC could change the date that candidates can pull papers. This would keep them from running ads until after Spring Training.
Indiana Primary——May 6
This is a total crock. The current system works because you start out in small states where relative new comers without unlimited funds can campaign. You get into regional primaries and the presidency will go to the person who has the MOST money.
The current system is not perfect, but we’ve seen how a person with ideas but limited funds can get a springboard. I’m not for Huckabee or Obama, but the system gave these people a chance to be heard...where by the ideas in this column would not have allowed it.
For some reason that I am not aware of, the NH Constitution requires that its primary be first in the nation.
As a Granite Stater myself, I always found that pretty arrogant. But, I will say that the voters here have an excellent record of turning out, relative to many other states.
NH has a population (population, not registered voters) of about 1.3mm, and its expected that 500,000 will vote today.
If the Delaware plan is adopted, it might mean that money will be MORE IMPORTANT in the nomination process, because the candidates will have to fly/travel/eat/buy campaign ads in many more states, early on.
Take that schedule and movie it to August and I’ll be okay.
I am so sick and tired of stupid Iowa and New Hampshire making this important decision for the rest of us. The populations of these two states are not representative of the rest of the country, and yet, cycle after cycle, they get to send good candidates out to pasture or put rotten ones in first place.
There must be some sort of reform. I’m for rotating regional primaries where one-fourth of the country votes together first one cycle and then it switches to another region. There are other workable solutions, too, but one way or another the monopoly of the jealous power-mongers in Iowa and New Hampshire must be broken.
So what? Other states are not required to follow the NH Constitution. Have California pass an amendment that says it has to be first and then watch what happens. Where are candidates going go spend their time and money? In puny little NH or in delegate-rich California.
Hell have them all on the same day like the presidential election and all the candidates can run one set of adds on national media.
Voting in Texas also starts on February 19. Candidates who wait until March 4 are going to miss a lot of voters here.
I think NH’s constitution says something like no matter how early another state’s primary is, theirs will be a week (or whatever it is) before it.
But yeah, I don’t see why CA’s constitution couldn’t be changed to say the same thing. Funny.
That's right. Without media attention and exposure, a candidate gets no money. Its all media-driven, and they anoint leftist and RINO candidates they're comfortable with.
Exactly, so if two states have the same language as the NH constitution, will we have the primary for the, say, 2080 race (and all other future elections to infinity) tomorrow?
If you read what I wrote, I was not in any way defending it...
How many registered voters turn out in California? I bet its pretty dismal.
There, fixed it. We need to do something very soon to get the MSM out of the position of choosing our nominees for us and put it back in the hands of the people. You all know that my candidate is Fred, but the MSM leaving any candidate out of a debate is deplorable.
Put Presidential selection back in the Senate where it should be. This popular election stuff is bs.
And then tell us who should drop out, before even the vote has taken place.
As a resident of one of those ‘irrelevant’ states whose primary isn’t until May — I think this is an excellent article. I hope it gains traction. Thanks for the post!
Obviously you don't live in an irrelevant state with a May primary.
We should have an organized national primary day...mid-march. And before that, we have a run-off....giving us the top three candidates in which we want to choose from.
With a one and two choose, by each voter.
I think Duncan Hunter is proving that wrong. Here’s a guy who’s getting no media attention, has little money, yet who is making a difference in the general debate.
The problem ? The MSM deciding who THEY want us to hear. When they shut out candidates who are organized enough to be on the ballots, they hurt us all.
First get the 18th repealed and put senator election back the way it was designed.
The early primarys in Iowa and New Hampshire or only as important as we in the rest of the states let them be. I am sure many presidents have been elected and didn’t carry Iowa or New Hampshire.
Would you want the ‘rat controlled Senate to pick the next President ?
Not me, altho this populist crap is getting out of hand.
Look how some states have changed since 2000. It didn’t take a constitutional amendment.
We now have super Tuesday as more states wanted to be counted in selecting the POTUS. Iowa and N.H. were always first and second. So far as I am concerned super Tuesday is the day.
Boy this sure has turned out to be the understatement of the year! Good article and right on. Everyone except Iowa, N.H, John McCain, and Barack Obama would pretty agree with this too. Huck may have a few reservations as well.
Yep. For a long time now I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated at never being able to have a choice. By the time primaries come to us usually we’re down to only one choice and its a meaningless primary for IN residents. Amen!
I wonder what Evan thinks of his decision to back the Beast now? Suppose he'll jump off the sinking ship and swim for the SS Hussein?
I am growing fairly cynical these days about most Americans respect for our country and the overall decline in what used to be more common and that is morality. I guess this is not heaven on earth though. And God will not come down with his magic wand and change this. So I think it is a good idea to reevaluate and push for reasonable change. However the end result may force us all (except the Dems) to be disgusted (A R. nominated McCain and a President Obama) enough to stand back just slightly next time from pronouncements.Now that Hillary is being taken down and John Edwards has disappeared from the living maybe some Dems will agree to this as well.
If you want to argue against the efficacy of “retail politics,” thats one thing.
But to suggest that in a national primary Indiana (or NH, Iowa, Delaware, Rhode Island) would be important, you are dreaming. The candidates would simply focus on Ca, NY, Texas and Florida.
And, money would be much, much more important than it is now.
Personally, I’d be happy to see less of these scheisters pandering to me and leaving voice mail messages everyday. But I believe a national, or super-regional primary would preclude a Tancredo, Hunter, or Thompson from running at all.
How could a non-moneyed candidate even approach a national primary?
Who cares about being important or not? I just want to have a CHOICE! Like I said, obviously you don’t live in an IRRELEVANT state where you get NO choice whatsoever.
How about all states on the same day or no results given until all of the caucuses and primaries have been held?
Doubt it. My suspicion is he’s been offered Hillary’s VP slot or a high ranking cabinet position in her administration. Otherwise, I think he would have given the Presidential race a shot.
I think the idea of rotating states, randomly, makes more sense. I think any type of national or super-regional primary would make all the smaller states irrelevant, regardless of whether the results were held until voting was finished. The candidates would just focus on the states with the greatest number of delegates, like they do now for electors in the largest states.
When this primary is over, NH and Iowa will be ignored by the candidates as usual.
We need to count it as a campaign contribution if the public media (ABC/CBS/NBC/PBS) gives more time to some than others.
Interesting ... worth some thought.
“Especially when the MSM declares winners long before the process is over.”
before it’s started! Like leaving candidates out of debates.
How many registered voters turn out in California? I bet its pretty dismal.
If so, maybe that's because Iowa, New Hampshire and the media will have already declared the nominees. But even if every man woman and child voted in New Hampshire, California would only need a 4% turnout to have more people cast ballots.
Brief translation: Waaaaahhhh! My guy isn’t going to be nominated!
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