August 29, 2007

Primary Whack-A-Mole With A Marshmallow Hammer

Earlier this week, the Democratic National Committee touched off a feud with its state party in Florida by threatening to bar their delegates if they did not change their primary date back to comply with the rules. The Republican National Committee followed suit with warnings to four states who have tried to elbow their way to the front of the line on primary election dates. Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Michigan all face the loss of delegates to the convention if they do not take action to comply with party scheduling rules.

At Heading Right, I ask whether either party can actually instill discipline at this point, even if they wanted to do so. Which of the two major parties want to have a scene of protest and disunity on the cusp of a presidential election? If the only other option is federal intervention, will the parties be able to take that step to preserve their control over the primary process?


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Comments (12)

Posted by unclesmrgol | August 29, 2007 9:11 AM

The problem here is state support of political parties. If the States did not pay for the primaries, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans would be grousing about this issue.

If they want to prevent the states from doing this, they should select their candidates using their own funds.

Posted by ted in bed | August 29, 2007 9:19 AM

Where is the leadership? Ah never mind. Sen. Mel Amnesty is busy giving away America. Gov. Dean is doing whatever Gov. Dean does.

The solution is so friggin obvious and simple.

Put each of the states into one of 5 groups ... Pacific, Midwest, South, North East, and Mountain West.

Then randomly assign the states in each group a number from 1 to 5.

There will be 5 primary election dates. The states assigned number 1 would vote on the first date. The states assigned number 2 would vote on the second date .....

In the very next presidential election, the order will be rotated with the states that went first the last time rotated down to the last election. The states assigned number 2 would go first, then number 3 and finally number 1.

This creates a system where regions are equally represented in every election and every state will have a chance to be in the first squad every 5 presidential elections.

Posted by RBMN | August 29, 2007 9:21 AM

Disqualifying delegates from one state would only make a difference if two things were true: The nomination race is close at the convention, and candidate preferences divide along some regional line. Both are unlikely. So from today's vantage point, the threatened state parties would likely say, "so what?" The only influence states (e.g. Iowa and New Hampshire) have is at the beginning of the process--not the end.

Posted by Bob G | August 29, 2007 9:52 AM

This may be the first nail in the Party Convention coffin as we know it today....loss of delagates....BIG DEAL!

Posted by SouthernRoots | August 29, 2007 10:00 AM

Since blanket primaries are "unconstitutional" because the parties reserve the right to choose their own candidates, then the parties should have to shoulder the costs for these elections.

It is funny though, the party that always screams about voter disenfranchisement when election laws and rules are followed is now using their own rules to disenfranchise their own voters.

Ironic? Moronic?

Gotta go check the dictionary.

Posted by Labamigo | August 29, 2007 10:13 AM

Anything that weakens the ridiculous system we now have is all right by me.

Posted by Bob Mc | August 29, 2007 10:38 AM

"Which of the two major parties want to have a scene of protest and disunity on the cusp of a presidential election?"

Good heavens...I can't think of a primary campaign in which the candidates sat in a circle and sang Kumbaya. Haven't they always turned on each other in the form of political cannibalism prior to the primary elections, and then "come together" to present a united front for the good of the party the day after the party convention?

The answer to your question is "both". A more accurate answer is "Every party that has ever existed with more than one candidate for office".

Posted by mrlynn | August 29, 2007 10:54 AM

The crazy practice of having 'primaries' should be abandoned. That the presidential campaigns have started two years in advance of the election just points up the absurdity of the 'system'.

Political conventions and their smoke-filled rooms gave us better candidates—and presidents—than the primaries have.

When there was competition at the conventions, they were a lot more fun, too.

Abolish the primaries altogether!

/Mr Lynn

Posted by FedUp | August 29, 2007 11:14 AM

Mr Lynn... I'll go one better! Abolish the parties and make everyone run on individual merits - that should weed them out...

Posted by Carol Herman | August 29, 2007 11:33 AM

I actually beg to differ.

Howie Dean showed leadership qualities; in a world gone awry. Which is how you test a man's capabilties.

Here's what he was faced with: PARTY REBELLION.

For some reason, and I think it's been caused by the Internet, there's real hysteria out there, now, inside both politicals parties. That's right. BOTH!

It seems it became a "custom" for Iowa and New Hampshire to go first. And, it wasn't so long ago, primaries, in California, were held in June. But when But "got on top" ... and it looked like dirty politics at the "grass-roots" levels of Iowa and New Hampshire, doing this to a BIG state, changes were put into motion.

Gov. Schwartzenegger boosted up California's primaries to March. This was done so that when the bulk of California's primary voters went to the polls, they'd actually still have the "early birds" that dropped out, before. Because of the internal sway of the uber-religious. In other words? The first thing that "changed" was that the "back room guys," inside politics, weren't calling the shots! It looked like the grass roots gained a lot of traction. And, it did.

It's all at risk, now.

Any-hoo, over at the Bonkey side, with the republicans, remember, in "control" of the Floriduh legislature; AND the governor's house, they decided to "break a rule," and GO towards a primary in FIRST PLACE. The Floriduh politicians, from both sides of the aisle, decided to set Floriduh's 2008 primary on January 29, 2008.

This is what Howie Dean said: "Go ahead. But your delegates won't be counted at the Convention." BINGO. You have a problem. Primaries isn't about voters, here, it's about seating political asses at the Convention. Howie Dean said "Do what you want. Here's the cost." Yeah, it's legal. Or it will be fought over by lawyers. In any event, that's something you'll find wall-to-wall in the Bonkey party.

It also means, when a STATE sets a primary date, that the whole state votes. So this stuff, of moving up dates, affects the GOP, too. But they're "quiet."

Even now, it feels early to be discussing 2008 candidates. But I know from history, that Lincoln started his presidential run (inside), two years "out." In 1958. He did this by publishing, with Senator Douglas' permission, the much-reported Lincoln-Douglas debates. Still in print!

He also went to New York City, early 1860 (?), and gave a terrific speech at Cooper Union. This addressed so many GOP delegates that they saw, at once, he had national appeal. On the subjects roiling through government.

So, there's reasons, again, to be talking about who will be our next president. A subject, so far, that's not so cut-and-dried.

What Howie Dean stopped, though, was the avalanche. Other states were tee-ing up "to go first." They, too, were gonna get ahead of Iowa.

Dunno about you; but the insiders in politics run to fix the things that break down enough. Whether the People are pushing for these moves. Or not.

Posted by athingortwo | August 29, 2007 11:35 AM

Do either the Dems or the Pubs really want to risk alienating the voters of an entire large state like Florida (fourth largest in electoral votes) by literally disenfranchising their primary voters?

Even if the party functionaries are so foolish as to try and do that, it's not likely that the voters or the State Governor and Legislature are going to stand idly and let that happen ... I smell a huge Federal lawsuit that goes straight to the Supreme Court ... for another round similar to Bush v. Gore, with the political and legal arguments continuing for years thereafter

There is so much change going on this election cycle, it's mind-boggling. First we've got Super Duper Tuesday, with up to 25 states vying to minimize the prior influence of the farmers in Iowa and New Hampshire in selecting the Party nominees ... and then we've got California and their voter referendum to end winner-take-all and substitute electoral vote allocation (55!) by Congressional District.

And now we've got a replay of the old Beijing-gate purchase of yet another Clinton White House with the revelation this week about "The Missing Mr. Su and the Great Campaign Contribution Caper" (great name for a mystery novel, huh!).

Campaign '08 is turning into a vast shooting gallery for political junkies!

Posted by Mikey NTH | August 29, 2007 11:44 AM

Since Ted's idea makes a lot of sense it won't be used.


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