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GOP Primary Process A Disaster

Originally published at Quantum Matrix Scribe. Please leave any comments there.

While watching the nomination roll call for the Republican nomination, I heard a CNN reporter say that they weren’t able to have the “theater” of New Hampshire putting Mitt Romney over the top because they weren’t “sure of the math,” or where all the Ron Paul delegates were.

I’m sorry, what?

You are a national political party. You have a war chest built on hundreds of millions of dollars. You control one chamber of Congress. You’re trying to take back the presidency from the Democrats.

And you can’t figure out your own caucus results?

This is beyond absurd. This is embarrassing. This is humiliating. Not just for the party, but for all Americans. Already there were two huge errors in the primary battle, the beclowing in Iowa which claimed the career of the state GOP chair and the colossal fuckup that happened in Maine. (Maine is particularly sensitive, since the Paul campaign still claims that state as a win.) Then there is the utterly ridiculous convention process that occurs, with Ron Paul picking up delegates in the precinct, county, and state conventions that follow the caucuses the media follows.

On the one hand, I almost find it believable, with all that baloney, that the party doesn’t know the math. But on the other…

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

This is ridiculous. No party should carry on like this.

It’s time to end caucuses and just have binding primaries. Yes, that will suck for Ron Paul supporters. But as much as I love Ron Paul and his message, the only reason he got as much as he did is because of packing his supporters into caucuses run by arcane, byzantine rules. That’s not fair. That’s not democracy.

The Republican party needs to get its collective head out of its collective ass and reform its own nominating process. It should go something like this:

  1. No caucuses
  2. Any state that pushes it’s primary earlier than permitted loses ALL delegates. Not 50%–every single one. That’s the only way it’s going to keep state parties in line and not have a mad dash to be the first.
  3. Use regional primaries, where a bunch of states in an area vote on the same day. I’ve seen most suggestions along these lines have four regions, but I think that’s too big. Make it more like eight or ten regions. That makes it far tighter and less traveling is necessary.
  4. Randomize the order of regions, so there’s never any one region that acts like Iowa or New Hampshire.
  5. And for the love of the baby jesus, embrace early voting already. Not everyone can trudge through the snow or whatever to show up on a day to vote.

And while we’re on the subject of voting reform, let me reiterate my stance on voting reform nationally:

  1. Replace first-past-the-post with approval voting already.
  2. Repeal the 17th Amendment and return the election of Senators to state legislators, and take them out of the people’s (direct) hands
  3. In the electoral college, have every state adopt the Nebraska/Maine model, basing the electoral college not on the states themselves, but rather their Congressional districts. All states will still have at least two at-large votes to award (some, only having one Representative, will have three.)
  4. Establish Congressional term limits: eight years for Representatives, twelve for Senators (even those elected by state legislatures, under Proposal 2)
  5. Greatly reduce ballot access requirements and allow more people to get their name on the ballot. Yes, some of these people may do so for frivolous purposes…but that is a small cost for democracy.
  6. Abolish all “sore-loser laws” (more like “sore-winner laws”) and allow those who fail in a primary to pursue an independent campaign, at their own cost.
  7. End taxpayer support of internal party primaries and party conventions.

Not that I think any of this would ever happen, but, it would go a long way towards fixing our screwed up electoral process. And maybe it would make our democracy less idiotic and more responsive to what we really want.

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