Back in 2012, the GOP looked back and realized that it needed to compress the GOP primary schedule and have fewer debates to make sure no radical, insurgent candidate would knock off the Establishment choice. That worked out splendidly…so, now the GOP is floating a few new ideas:
…Party leaders are even going so far as to consider diluting the traditional status of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as gatekeepers to the presidency. Under one proposal, those states would be paired with others that voted on the same day as a way to give more voters a meaningful role much sooner.
But in a move that would sharply limit who could participate in presidential primaries, many party activists are also pushing to close Republican contests to independent voters, arguing that open primaries in some states allowed Donald J. Trump, whose conservative convictions they deeply mistrust, to become the presumptive nominee…
I do actually like the idea of “pairing”, but I’d carry it a step further – have IA, NH, AL and ID be the first States, all on the same day. All of them are relatively small population States and they represent the Midwest, the Northeast, the South and the West. The second set would be, say, Minnesota, Maine, South Carolina and Nevada. Third set Wisconsin, Vermont, Kentucky and Arizona. Do this over a mere 3-4 week period. After that, take the remaining 38 States, divvy them up by rough thirds based on population and do a series of “Super Tuesday” primaries two weeks apart starting with the lowest population group going to the largest population group. And close the primaries – no one but voters registered as Republicans as of January 1st of the election year can participate.
My idea here is to have a set of low-population States go first because that is were an insurgent campaign can have a chance to gain traction. Having four States from around the country can also help sift out who has the best national appeal. It also forces the candidates to have a message which resonates across the nation rather than, as now, just trying to figure out what Iowa and New Hampshire are thinking. Having a series of low-population contests keeps it cheap enough to run until we’re down to two or three – who would then be able to gain the resources to keep fighting in the larger population areas until one person gets it all – or, it stays so closely divided that it goes to the Convention. And if one candidate does manage to sweep or near-sweep the first 12 contests then that would be a solid indication that the candidate is the party’s choice…meaning, someone who can do that well in that diverse an electorate is someone who has captured the GOP imagination and should be the GOP nominee. It is also, as you can see, about a 10 week process. Start it on January 15th, done no later than March 31st. Have the Convention on May 1st – this makes sure that the GOP Candidate never has a period of months – as Romney had in 2012 – where he is subjected to attack ad bombardment without being able to respond until a Convention held months later.
What do you think?