I’ve been perusing the new report by the Republican National Committee (RNC) about
why their party sucks so bad and loses national elections all the time about how to improve their party. Some of the most interesting recommendations, in my view, are stuck in at the tail end of the report, in a section called “Primary Process.” A few items jumped out at me (RNC recommendations in red; my commentary afterwards in black).
*“The number of debates has become ridiculous, and they’re taking candidates away from other important campaign activities…The number of debates should be reduced by roughly half to a still robust number of approximately 10 to 12, with the first occurring no earlier than September 1, 2015, and the last ending just after the first several primaries (February – March 2016).”
I find this recommendation hilariously misguided. The fact is, Democrats held a gazillion debates in 2007-2008, and it didn’t hurt them any. And they wouldn’t have hurt Republicans either, except for one thing: the Republican candidates were either crazy themselves, or pandering to “the crazies” in their party, thus turning off anyone sane. Sure, you can try to hide your crazy candidates – and rabid audiences – but in the end, I’m not sure that really gets at the core problem. Which is, again, that this party has become the 2013 version of the John Birch Society; a bunch of tinfoil-hat wearing extremists and bigots of various kinds.
*“The Republican Convention should be held earlier in the summer. It should be moved to late June or sometime in July, allowing our nominee more time to begin the general election phase…To facilitate moving up primary elections to accommodate an earlier convention, the Party should strongly consider a regional primary system or some other form of a major reorganization instead of the current system. The current system is a long, winding, often random road that makes little sense. It stretches the primaries out too long, forces our candidates to run out of money, and because some states vote so late, voters in those states never seem to count. Such a change would allow for a broader group of Republicans to play a role in selecting our nominee.”
This one’s also amusing, in part because it shows how much the Republican Party is focused on money and process over substance, but also because it’s already being blasted by the right wing (Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, etc.) as a “power grab.” According to one “close Paul adviser,” “Elimination of caucuses would mean nuclear war with the grassroots, social conservatives and [the] Ron Paul movement.” Awesome – more popcorn please! 🙂
*“We also recommend broadening the base of the Party and inviting as many voters as possible into the Republican Party by discouraging conventions and caucuses for the purpose of allocating delegates to the national convention. Our party needs to grow its membership, and primaries seem to be a more effective way to do so. The greater the number of people who vote in a Republican primary, the more likely they will turn out and vote again for the Republican candidate in the fall election.”
Finally, you’ve gotta love this one, strongly recommending primaries over conventions, because conventions involve such a tiny number of people compared to primaries, and Republicans need to “grow its membership.” Of course, here in Virginia, Ken Kookinelli and his Teahadist allies pushed in exactly the other direction, ditching the Republican primary for a much, much smaller, and much, much more right wingnut, convention. It “worked,” in the sense of pushing out Bill Bolling and coronating Cooch, but in terms of growing the party, basically the RNC is advising the exact opposite of what Cuccinelli et al. pulled off a few months ago. Fascinating, huh?