Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Primarying No More

Remember that primary that went on until we all were screaming Just Stop? If you are blessedly forgetful, congratulations. I remember it well, and would rather not ever see the Neverending Story wind on like that again. Thankfully, the Democratic National Committee shared that experience with us and wants to head it off at the Past.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will co-chair a 37-member panel aimed at changing the presidential nominating process, the Democratic National Committee announced Monday night.

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine announced the Democratic Change Commission membership will include fellow Richmond Democrat State Del. Jennifer McClellan.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman is the only mayor included on the panel. The group will address: changing the window of time during which states can hold presidential primaries and caucuses; reducing the number of superdelegates (thus giving primaries and caucuses more weight in nomination fights), and improving the caucus system. The commission is to report back to the Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee by January 1, 2010.

The prolonged Democratic presidential primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton last year left people still wondering by summertime who would be the party's presidential nominee. Some saw the drawn out primary contest as bruising to the party, while other observers say the process helped to strengthen grassroots organizing since more states had the chance to vote in contested presidential primaries. By August there was still grumbling that superdelegates -- party insiders who can vote at the Democratic nominating convention for any presidential nominee they choose -- could sidestep the will of primary voters.

In announcing the commission, Kaine said he hopes to work with the Republican National Committee on "a common approach that puts voters first."

Voters would like that. I would also like to see less spending on advertisements required. The role of Dollars in the campaigns is disheartening. Debates, town meetings, press conferences would all be better ways for making voting decisions.

The Superdelegates were particularly unsavory, as it gives the impression that mere voters can't be trusted to make choices good enough for leadership. As it wound along, the Democratic campaign was a public-oriented event, however it drew on. However, it is easy to see that the use of Superdelegates could easily fall into the hands of a more authoritarian candidate and be misused to the detriment of the party, and of all voters' will.

Good to begin so soon, and to determine what will serve best to keep the Democratic Party responsive to the populace. We never, ever want to be For Sale like the Gang of Nope.

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Blogger rmenglish@gmail.com said...

I've never understood why allowing voters in the later primaries to play a significant role was a bad thing. Changing the rules could only shorten the primaries by making later primaries irrelevant.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

True, every vote should count. I do think that shortening the primary would remove the element of wearing out on the candidates though, would like the individual primaries consolidated.

3:43 AM  
Blogger rmenglish@gmail.com said...

Maybe the primaries should be a tournament. The first round would include two states. The second round four, then eight, sixteen, and twenty. In the last round of voting, only two candidates would remain.

Primary order would be chosen by lot in December. Primary madness would ensue in March.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

That would work. I like deciding by lots... a lot.

6:42 AM  

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