Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sec. Bysiewicz renews call for primary reform

In a press release from the Secretary of State's Office, Susan Bysiewicz reiterated her call for both parties to reform the current haphazard primary system.

The plan, endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of the State (NASS), along with a crapload of other organizations, proposes four rotating "regions" which each has a month to complete all it's primaries. So, we'll have say the Western region completing it's primaries in March, the Midwestern in April, the Eastern in May, and the Southern in June. The following election will see the first region go to the end of the line and all others move up one place. That way, each region will be first every sixteen years. The regions may schedule their primaries any time within "their" month.

Iowa and New Hampshire will retain their traditional privileged status as first caucus and primary, probably sometime in late February or early March.

The national committees of each party must decide on this proposal, and I'm hoping the bipartisan support the plan has received with translate to actual progress. The Democratic Party is free to take up the issue at any time.

However, the Republican Party limits reform discussions to one short window of time every four years, at its nominating conventions. This will take place in Minnesota in early September, so they've got to act fast. The reason it's important to get both parties to agree on a plan is that presently each state is free to set it's primary schedule, and a situation similar to Florida may occur where the majority party and governor rules when the election will be held, regardless of the effect it has on the opposition party.

Hence the DNC's ruling early on to strip Florida of it's delegates when the Republican majority moved the state primaries earlier.

Now, I'm well aware that the Republicans often are tremendously short-sighted, and I'm sure some of them think the kind of chaos that occurred this year in the Democratic primaries will be a permanent feature if they don't fix the process. But you need to remember that this is the very same Republican party that agreed to the deal where whichever party held the majority in the Senate on the first day of the session would retain their majority status even if the makeup of the Senate changes.

That's why we have all the committees and the "majority", even though today the makeup of the body is 49-49-2. They thought they'd be in charge from day one and gambled to keep power in the event of potential Republican defections, which might have seemed like a good idea at the time.

But they didn't anticipate Joe Lieberman and the depth of his betrayal to the Democratic party; if they had, they NEVER would have proposed the plan. Ha-ha.

So, I'm holding out hope that we'll see a new primary system that not only benefits both parties, but by allowing candidates to spend a month in each region rather than endlessly criss-crossing the nation, it'll benefit the voters too, by letting them actually see and hear their candidates.

However, we all know that the Republicans would like nothing better than to shoot down a plan that makes sense (unless it was Dick Cheney's idea), so I'm a bit skeptical that we'll see this adopted at the frenzied Republican National Convention late this summer.

They're going to be too busy bailing out their sinking lifeboat of a presidential campaign to worry about what the menu choices are at the yacht club.


Bob Symmes said...

It would be a simple plan:

a) Iowa & New Hamphire first (as they and the MSM want);

b) 4 primaries (using the top 8 states in population - 2 per primary; then the bottom 40 in population - 10 per primary), each spaced 4 week apart. Each group chosen by lottery the previous November. Any state going outside this plan would have their delegation reduced by 75%, but the primary would count.

end of issues.

This would avoid this current chaos.

CT Bob said...

I tend not to agree, as that would give the big states too much preference. The regional plan is more fair.

I'm not a big fan of Iowa and New Hampshire's preferential treatment, and since both states have white populations over 90%, they doesn't accurately represent the overall makeup of our nation. But it's not a deal killer.

I think the regional thing is good. It's thoroughly democratic.

Bob Symmes said...

We'll agree, then, to disagree.

(Wouldn't it be "luverlee" if HRC could see things our way?)