For a sensible primary system

Jim Geraighty at NRO presents a cleverly modified version of the Delaware plan (which I explained and endorsed four years ago this week) for a completely redesigned primary system. The main features in this plan are (1) that the primaries progress from the smaller to the larger states, so that every state has its moment in the sun; and (2) that open primaries be abolished. Meaning that if you want to have a say in the selection of the Republican presidential nominee, you have to be a Republican. Duh.

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James N. writes:

The simple proposal of limiting voting in the Republican primary to Republicans does not address the central problem.

If the only requirement for the primary franchise is going down to the town clerk 30 days, 60 days, or even 90 days before the primary and signing a card that says “Republican,” we are still left with a system that presumes that a gaggle of idiots will make a wise and appropriate choice.

In the final contest in November, I can see (up to a point) that although the individual voters are (on average) idiots, that the CHOICE between two individuals should serve the perceived interests of those idiots, en masse, and that a majority division is a fair way to arrive at same.

But for the completely different process of designating a PARTY representative, someone who SHOULD be President in preference to several or many others? Someone who is capable of putting the Party’s best foot forward, so to speak? Someone with the requisite temperament and skill set, INCLUDING political skills? Are voters with no loyalty to the Party other than signing a card, and no skills other than respiration and digestion, really the best electors for THAT?

I favor abolishing universal franchise voting as a means of designating delegates to the Republican National Convention. If you want to keep voting in place, it should be no more that a “beauty contest,” understood perhaps to influence but not to bind the actual decision makers.

The decision makers should be, at a minimum, state chairmen and selected county delegates, or the equivalent. They should also include all elected congressmen and senators, on the grounds that they have proven working knowledge of the electoral process. The body of party officials and elected representatives should be allowed to choose 500 or so OTHER delegates who a) have long and publicly affirmed membership in the Party and b) have achieved prominence in their chosen fields of endeavor.

I would also restore the 2/3 majority requirement to be nominated. A candidate who beats a rival 51-49 may not be strong enough, or may lack broad enough party support, to prevail.

None of this will happen, of course. The system is too far gone for that.

LA replies:

Four years ago I said the same, that the smoked-filled room would be better, but that since there was no chance of that happening, the second best recourse would be the redesign of the primary process.

January 5

Vivek G. writes:

The “All are Welcome to Vote” is a sign, cause and effect of subscription to liberalism. Once the vicious circle sets in, it is only more and more of liberalism. Electoral procedures have a lot more impact on the outcome than we realize. In most democracies in the world today, not just the media but the Electoral System itself is biased towards electing more and more liberal candidates. There needs to be a serious thought given to it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 04, 2012 03:55 PM | Send

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