Q&A Friday #86: Fixing The Primary System
Question: “A few weeks ago, on Q&A #85, you made the point that the Republican primary system had some flaws.
What are the flaws, and what do you think we can do to address them?
(link to previous answer)
“No the only thing he listed was keep independents and Democrats out and that was at best a round about message. That isn’t a fix. There are bigger issues like the media, McCain-Feingold, winner take all states, front loading, etc. that make it really had for a good candidate like Duncan Hunter to get play but media favorites like Rudy and McCain gets ton’s of free air time.” — rmiddle
Answer: There are two key things I would like to see us deal with.
#1) Make sure that the majority of early states are closed primaries. I don’t mind having independents voting in our primaries in some states, but they shouldn’t be the deciding factor in which nominee represents the GOP. If you want to know why real conservatives seem to have a tough time getting nominated, open primaries are the biggest factor working against them.
#2) The front loading of the primaries is ridiculous. We have a full year of campaigning, a month of actual primaries, and then it’s all over but the crying.
How about we at least have a couple of months worth of primaries before we have a “Super Tuesday” that pretty much ends the race instead of setting up a system where two small, very unrepresentative states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, are as important as all the other states combined in deciding who our nominee is going to be.
If we could just get those two things fixed, I think it would greatly improve our candidate selection process.
PS #1: This is a relatively small thing, but I’d like to see the number of participants in the debates trimmed down significantly earlier in the year so that people can have more time to look over the candidates that actually have a hope of hell of winning.
PS #2: Winner-take-all states aren’t so bad. They’ve helped us avoid the sort of long, bitter fight that the Democrats are engaged in right now. As to the media and McCain-Feingold, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to do a lot about either problem before 2012.