It’s Time to Change the Primary Process…
The fact that Iowa, a state with less than 6% unemployment in an election that is all about jobs, got to set the terms and pick front runners in this election in a nation that still has more than an 8% unemployment rate (that will probably climb in the coming months as people lay off seasonal employees), is absolutely ridiculous. It’s why we’re stuck with Rick Santorum as a top-tier candidate. Evangelicals in a state with low employment decided social issues were most important. This has got to stop. Some suggest the solution is a national primary, where all 50 states cast their ballots in, say, June to pick our nominee. While this is attractive, it is also quite destructive, as it would favor establishment candidates and people without a lot of money would not be able to participate. So here is what I think can be done:
1) Make the Republican Party more conservative. If Romney is nominated then elected president, this will be tough, but, if we get a conservative candidate or if Romney looses, we’ve got to demand the GOP make a conservative chairman. Michael Steele, as surprisingly media illiterate as we was, which weakened his chairmanship, did a lot of good in demanding conservative reforms of the party. We’ve got to get a conservative to chair the Republican Party with a strong mandate to ensure the party hierarchy is more conservative.
2) Close all primaries and caucuses. All primaries and caucuses should be closed to Republicans. We’ve got a lot of problems in California, but one thing we have had the foresight to do is to close our primaries so that it’s mostly conservatives casting their ballots in them. Independents are welcome to vote for the Republican candidate once we’ve picked it. That is the point of being an independent is to be able to choose a candidate in the general without a particular alliance.
3) A Series of Mini-“Super Tuesdays”. Candidates who don’t have money should be able to participate, but states shouldn’t have prominence or special treatment. The GOP Primary should start the first Tuesday of March, with 3 or 4 states going first, then another 10 two weeks later, then 15 two weeks after that, and so on. This way a candidate with limited funding can still participate, but his or her ability to expand their operation is tested as the primaries get bigger.
4) A First, Second, Third Ballot Requirement. No more than four candidates should be able to recieve delegates, and the rest should be eliminated from the process of should occur. The GOP should include a ballot requirement that says “If your first choice for the Republican nomination is eliminated from consideration, who is your second choice?” and another line can be added that says “If your first and second choices are eliminated who is your third choice?” That way, a candidate who wins 25% of the vote can’t win the nomination.
Anyone else have any other ideas? This system was designed for a bygone era, We’ve got to fix this.