Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Voting Order

I was lamenting last week that I've never actually voted in a national primary that mattered. The nominees are normally sewn up well before Minnesota votes. Even with the wild GOP race so far I expect that record to hold.
Back in 2008 there was some talk of changing the primary system so that each region would have a single day of voting. Four regions (IIRC Northeast, Midwest, South and West) would go and they would rotate each cycle. I don't know what happened to this proposal but it obviously isn't in place now.
Today I read a piece by Jim Geraghty that seems to have a good possible solution:
So I would suggest a process that begins with the least-populated states, which have the fewest delegates to the GOP convention, and works its way up to the largest and most delegate-rich states. In the nomination process, a state can present value to a candidate in one of three ways: 1) number of delegates (often tied to population size); 2) time in the primary calendar (a chance to make an early splash and create momentum for later contests); or 3) ease or cost-effectiveness for campaigning (small size and short travel distances, cheap television advertising rates, etc.). This system would attempt to balance out those values so that campaigning for the votes of those few Republicans in Vermont and Delaware makes as much sense as campaigning for the votes of Republicans in Texas and Georgia.
Reasonable on the face of it but what would it look like in practice? He's crunched the numbers:

So, under RNC Chairman Jim, the 2016 Republican primary process (one hopefully lacking drama because we’re all so thrilled with the results of the GOP president elected in 2012) would look something like this:

February 9: New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine.

February 16: Delaware, District of Columbia.

February 23: Hawaii, Alaska.

March 1: South Carolina.

March 8: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming.

March 15: Iowa, Minnesota.

March 22: Connecticut, Rhode Island.

March 29: Nevada, Utah.

April 5: Oregon, Idaho, Washington.

April 12: Arizona, New Mexico.

April 19: Michigan, Indiana.

April 26: West Virginia, Kentucky.

May 3: Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas.

May 10: Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama.

May 17: Maryland, Virginia.

May 24: Massachusetts, New Jersey.

May 31: Wisconsin, Illinois.

June 7: Florida.

June 14: Missouri, Oklahoma.

June 21: North Carolina, Tennessee.

June 28: Ohio, Pennsylvania.

July 5: Georgia.

July 12: New York.

July 19: Texas.

July 26: California.

If my math is right that means that by the time Minnesota had voted only 272 out of a total 2286 delegates would have been selected. If there was no clear front-runner, we would still have a voice in the outcome. Locally, that would be a big improvement over how it has been.
Would it result in a better candidate? That's harder to tell. Six of the first seven states are fairly liberal (NH, VT, ME, DE, DC, HI and AK) . I don't how that would translate in terms of picking the best GOP nominee. (It might improve it as my experience is that most blue state Republicans are somewhat libertarian.) The next group has SC, WY, MT, SD and ND. I'm more a fan of the western conservative bent than the southern one so this would please me too.
Frankly I'd love to see this gamed out a few times.

Anyway, it should be clear that the system should be improved. This may not be the best answer but it would move the ball in the right direction.



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