Friday, February 08, 2008

Changing the Primary System

Update: I added a survey about the political parties to the right side of my blog. Take a look at the parties' platforms, then answer the survey.

What's wrong with having a national primary?

No, I don't mean where the highest vote getter for each party gets all the delegates, then automatically gets their party's nomination. Heck no, think of all the revenue the parties would lose by not having to hold a national convention. (snicker)

No, I am talking about keeping all the state rules for delegates, but having all of the primaries on the same day. Talk about shaking things up? Then, the left-leaning RINO's in New Hampshire, and the liberals voting as independents in the open primaries in other states, wouldn't have as significant impact on my voting options.

Lookie here:

  • Mitt Romney - out before Valentine's Day
  • Rudy Guliani - out before February
  • Fred Thompson - out before February
  • Duncan Hunter - out before February
  • Tom Tancredo - out before the new year
So my "choices" for my Republican vote in the March Ohio primary are:
  • John McCain - who moves to the left on issues of importance to me when it's time to govern.
  • Mike Huckabee - who attracts Christian voters, but would be labeled a Democratic nominee if you just looked at what he did in Arkansas without looking at title or faith.
  • Ron Paul - libertarian/constitutionalist at heart, but with whom I disagree on matters of defense and foreign policy.
Be honest...where's the "choice"? I'm not being negative; I'm being a conservative realist. Would I choose the pro-amnesty, pro-election "reform" candidate? The tax-raising, amnesty-happy, Mexican-consulate creating "populist" candidate? Or the isolationist, we-are-the-problem, get out of everywhere NOW candidate?

I can honestly say none of them represent me to my satisfaction. Some of the eliminated candidates may have, much more than the remaining crop. And that was my thought before Romney suspended his campaign.

So, why not set up primaries so that I can at least vote for who I believe does represent me, and let the voters sort it out? Who's to say Vermont wouldn't select Paul as the 'R' candidate, while Arizona selects Hunter, and Utah selects Romney? If none of them get enough delegates, good for us! We arrange a do-over. :-)

I would also add a binding "none of the above" option for all primaries, without a do-over for the party whose winning candidate is "NOTA".

If I did that though, I would also level the opportunity to begin a campaign. We conservatives always talk about equality of opportunity, while being against equality of results. In terms of elections, we have neither, thanks to the goofy election laws.

So why not make our vote really count, instead of making only our "hold our nose" vote count?


Scott said...

Ron Paul: "Shortly after 9/11, I voted for the authorization to go into Afghanistan because it told the president to do what he already had the authority to do: go after the ones who directly hit us. I was extremely disappointed that the mission there changed to one of nation-building."

Nothing lacking there, defense-wise.

He's actually in step with our founding fathers with regard to avoiding foreign entanglements.

Seriously, what has our non-declared war of vaguery gotten us? Dead soldiers and international ridicule.

Here's more Paul:"At the same time, we must not isolate ourselves."

You were saying something about "Isolationist?" :-P

What good reason is there to have our ever-dwindling military in 130 different foreign countries? The cold war is over.

Ron Paul is like Obi Wan Kenobi: Our only hope.

Scottius Maximus said...


It used to be that way in Illinois until this year. That was the big reason they moved the primary up from March to February 5th. At least the show wasn't over before we got a chance.

I'm a Ron Paul supporter also. Unfortunately, in today's cult-of-personality election cycle, I also realize he has no chance.

Since it sounds like no one appeals to you, how about just writing in "None Of The Above"?

Rick said...


So much for taking the high road; sounds like I've been duped by the righties on the internet, too. I'll I have seen or heard on Paul is that he wants isolationism and to pull out of the war immediately.

I do agree with removing our permanent military homes in all those other locations.


Let's be clear here. There may be candidates from many parties running for POTUS. If none of them satisfy me, then I will vote NOTA (or for Mickey Mouse). If one satisfies me, regardless of party or chance to win, then I will vote for that person.

Rick said...

That should have said "all I have seen or heard".

Scott said...

Yeah, I kinda figured. The "right" eat their young with lies and bullying.

"Trust but verify."

Polly said...

This exact question has been bugging me all week, Rick.

Caleb gets to vote this year for the first time. That's weird!

Dana said...

OK, here is a reason against a national primary system. The press is hounding this and I didn't think about it much. But I had a thought.

In a national primary day, would Huckabee have had a chance? (Not that I'm pulling for him in particular, but anyone could be Huckabee...some unknown without much money).

A national primary would require all candidates to launch a nationwide campaign, giving known candidates and wealthy candidates a decided advantage.

As it is, candidates can concentrate on launching a campaign in a single state. If they prove themselves there, they have the opportunity to attract more attention and money.

So while it may seem like they drop like flies before we have a choice, at least the choice exists for awhile.

This cycle, if it were a national primary, likely only McCain and Romney...and maybe Giuliani...would have had the resources to mount a real campaign.

Rick said...


I took that into consideration when I wrote this post. I don't like front-ending the primaries with left-leaning states that totally invalidate the race for the conservatives. I'd rather alter the strategy for all candidates, not just the conservative-leaning ones.

Paradigm shift, food for thought: why does money have to be the qualifying factor? Who said money had to be the requirement? Couldn't viral campaigning work, even if it is constrained by McCain-Feingold?

Either that, or work to make all primaries closed primaries. At least that way, the "un-declared"s, declared Independents, and declared Democrats wouldn't wield influence on whom I, as a Republican primary voter, may want to support. And that works if I'm a Democrat not wanting the other parties to intrude on my support, either.

Equality of opportunity does not exist today. Maybe we establish some pre-primary campaigning requirements so that money is not a qualifying factor.

Thinking out loud...obviously.

Dana said...

Closed primaries is a definite necessity! But money is what it is. No matter how you structure it, those with resources will always benefit.

RP tried the viral campaign...and had money to spare, but didn't take off. For all those disappointed in his acceptance, however, we can't forget about how much influence Howard Dean gained after failing to attract attention outside the internet. : )

Rick said...

Then let's add one more thing to the primaries: a binding None of the Above (NOTA) vote. If NOTA wins, then:

- In winner take all states, candidates lose all those delegates.
- In states where each candidate gets the related percentage of delegates, many delegates go unassigned and get no vote at convention.

For the folks that are married to the party, it would give them a valid "opt out" while still exercising their right to vote.

As Dana said, money talks. If you can't beat a phantom candidate, then you don't deserve to win.

The good news is that NOTA would never decide to withdraw if they lost in the first couple primaries. Candidates would have to fight them all the way to the end. :-)