#rsrh Structurally speaking, this GOP primary system has a problem.

Tell me again why we let certain states go early?

  • The results from Iowa’s caucuses were within the state GOP’s margin of incompetence, leading to a result where Mitt Romney was able to claim the largely symbolic win over Rick Santorum (truthfully, it was a tie either way, but headlines don’t care).
  • The South Carolina establishment reminded us, yet again, that they smear raw sewage on the knives before they put them in candidates’ backs.  Every year we think: Gee, they can’t go any lower.  Every year, they surprise us.
  • And now we have Nevada.  Nevada has a caucus.  Nevada had less than 33K votes to count in that caucus.  It took them a day – and if you’re wondering what the delay was, save yourself some trouble and just pick a random plausible-sounding screw-up, because it probably happened anyway.

Jim Geraghty wants to end the caucus system, and that’s not a bad idea – and what’s also not a bad idea is telling the early states in general, and Iowa in particular, that they don’t get to be first anymore.  I recommend a hard date of March 1st for being the earliest date for a GOP primary, and if a state party doesn’t conform to that, then the national party refuses to seat their delegates at the convention.  That’s it.  Subject closed. No deals after the fact, no saving throw to get half delegates, no appeals; the system has simply become too annoying and tedious, as-is.

And no compromises on the date, either.  That’s how it starts.

9 thoughts on “#rsrh Structurally speaking, this GOP primary system has a problem.”

  1. I wrote about this today and I feel the same way. The big flag for me–the pitiful turnout in Nevada (less than 10 percent of the state’s registered Republican voters).

    That begs questions. It would be up to the state party precinct/committee chairs to publicize this thing (since it wasn’t an official state election). Did they deliberately suppress turnout?

  2. I’m not a Republican but I second the motion of annoying and tedious and I would add long to the proposition. Kay, no one ever accused Nevada of being an honest and forthright State. I would guess they simply didn’t make sure people knew what was going on. But some of the blame falls on Republican voters for not being informed, unless the turnout is sending a message -nobody will vote for Romney. Guessing games.

  3. My wife and I would have attended the caucuses, like we did in ’08, but when the party joined the mad race to move up the date, they managed to pick a weekend when we were committed to be out of state. Based on my experiences in ’08, and what I read and heard went on in the later county conventions and state conventions, I think a primary is a far superior way to go. There are so many ways the caucuses and the follow-on conventions can be manipulated.

  4. As the saying goes “Interesting”, sounds like manipulation by the party maybe primaries are the way to go over caucuses.

  5. At least in Nevada, the reported vote in the caucus is more like a straw poll. Each precinct caucus has to elect delegates to a county convention, which then meets and elects delegates to the state convention, which then meets and elects delegates to the national convention. If a candidate isn’t organized enough to have people identified who can attend the county and state conventions, then it doesn’t matter how many votes he gets. In ’08 the Paulites showed up at the state convention in force, while the Romney delegates didn’t. Sue Lowden, then the chair of the state party, had to adjourn the state convention over the protests of the delegates to keep Paul from winning the majority of the national delegates. She then reconvened the convention at a later date when she and the party elite could control it better.

  6. I think my preference would be to split things up regionally into 5 or 6 regions, have every state in the region vote on the same day, and rotate the order of the regions for fairness. Have 2 weeks between each vote, _maybe_ one debate between each vote, and any state that decides to break this gets zero delegates.

  7. Lottery. Literally, with the ping pong balls and everything.

    First draw is for three States with (a) a closed primary and (b) a functional GOP party and (c) fewer than 7 electoral votes. They go on the first, second, and third Tuesday in March. Period.

    Second draw is for ten States with closed primaries and functional GOP parties to make up Super Tuesday, they go on the first Tuesday in April.

    Every other State is free to schedule after tax day.


  8. Caucuses are a stupid way to pick a candidate that will be satisfactory to the majority of the party members or to the electorate in general. The only consolation is that the way the Democrats run their caucuses is even stupid than the way the Republicans run them.

    One nasty problem with primary elections is that some states legislate “open primaries” … WTF? They’re telling us we should let our opponents deliberately select our worst candidates? I thought that was the media’s job! There ought to be some way to privatize the selection process in those states, to exclude false-flag voters.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Approval voting is the way to go.

  9. 1- No more open primaries. EVER.
    2- One debate per state maximum. Voters have a right to hear the candidates speak about the issues specific to their own states; but if the League of Gerbil Voters, or whatever, want to hold a debate they can go ask South Dakota for its slot.
    3- Random lottery, with the first ten states drawn being barred from a top-ten finish for the next four cycles. Since every state will eventually be in the top bracket, there’s no chance one state (and only a small chance that one region) will have a decisive effect on more than one cycle; candiates have to appeal to EVERY state and not just the ‘traditional’ first few.

    Of course, the current primary structure is never gonna change. There’s a reason that even its membrs call it The Stupid Party, after all.

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