Even though Donald Trump has yet to be officially nominated for president, the Republican Party is already brainstorming ways to repair the broken primary process that led to Trump’s unlikely ascendancy.
Among other ideas, the RNC is looking at proposals which, for example, would pair up the early primary/caucus states with other primaries to dilute the impact of so-called “carve-out states” like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In other words, additional states would be added to those particular election days to spread around the decision as to which candidate will take an early lead in the delegate count.
Iowa would still hold the first contest in 2020, but on the same day as Minnesota. New Hampshire would vote next, but on the same day as Massachusetts. And the same-day pairings would change: In 2024, Iowa would be twinned with South Dakota, and New Hampshire with Maine. […] Colorado or New Mexico would be two options to replace Nevada on the calendar, given their diverse electorates and history of voting Republican and Democratic in statewide elections.
Not a terrible idea — one which the Democrats might consider as well. Speaking of which, the Republicans are also considering the elimination of “open primaries,” in which members of either party, including independents, can vote. The GOP would abandon this practice entirely, guaranteeing that only Republican Party members can decide on the nominee.
Also, another very smart idea.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is under pressure from Bernie Sanders supporters to eliminate closed primaries, thus allowing any registered voter to chime in, regardless of party affiliation. The idea is that too many independent voters who wanted to support Bernie Sanders were unable to do so in 29 states because they weren’t registered Democrats. But, see, you can’t have your Bernie cake and eat it, too. You can’t shun the Democratic Party then expect to have a voice in who the Democrats nominate. It’s up to the Dems to decide, not independent voters who refuse to join a party, or Republicans, for that matter, who have a vested interest in seeing Democrats defeated.
Frankly, there shouldn’t be any open primaries in the first place. Basic logic dictates that members of the Democratic Party should be exclusively tasked with choosing the Democratic Party nominee for president, as well as congressional offices and so forth.
Second, it’s a huge mistake for the Democrats to unilaterally make a change like this since it’d leave the process completely and lopsidedly vulnerable to Republican tampering, not unlike Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” in 2008 whereby Republicans, freed up after John McCain secured his nomination, were urged to cross over and vote for Hillary Clinton in order to stir up the contentiousness of that race. Open primaries allowed it to happen.
Nevertheless, no one was disenfranchised by the existence of 29 closed primary states. (Voter ID and local incompetence, on the other hand, disenfranchised many.) Independents who managed to overcome an unforgivably glitchy registration process were allowed to vote in the Democratic primaries, even in the closed states, by planning ahead and registering as Democrats. Furthermore, there’s always the opportunity to help decide the nominee from one of the third parties. Weirdly, however, it always seems like the third parties nominate the same people over and over (Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, for instance). It appears as if the Democratic Party, and even the GOP, has a much more strenuously democratic (small “d”) process than the Libertarian or Green parties, each of which magically nominate the same two candidates every year with very little input from voters. Funny how that works.
And finally, eliminating closed Democratic primaries is mostly about Bernie Sanders failing to win the nomination, and not out of an idealistic democratic need for inclusiveness. This appears to be a post-mortem reaction after failing to secure the nomination, having realized too late that closed primaries would hurt Bernie’s chances. Conversely, Bernie supporters would likely support closed primaries if such a rule had helped, rather than hurt Bernie’s delegate count. Clearly, there’s a bit of sour grapes here, and no decisions about eliminating closed primaries should be made while tensions are still high and feelings are still crushed. The consequences would only serve to harm Democratic candidates and Democratic whip counts, especially if the GOP chooses to go with closed primaries across-the-board.
So, hopefully this particular movement will die a quick death before any damage is done.