I know this is a few days late, but I am in paper-season for school. Sue me.
This. This was the field that we started with, as of July 6th, 2015. Five old, white Democrats and fifteen diverse Republicans. How did it get down to two of the worst of these? The primary process. While Hillary’s fraudulent theft of the primary process is fairly well-documented (The Observer,HuffPo, The Political Insider, need I go on?), Trump’s rise to President-elect continues to baffle pundits and pollsters alike. Let me help enlighten them – it started with the primary process.
As I have written before, open primaries provided the opportunity for Trump to succeed. Approximately 38% of the Trump vote in the primaries were registered Democrats (RedState). Much of that came in the open primaries, the ones where people can vote on either side of the primary ballot for all of the positions for which they are choosing. Numerous articles have been written about the crazy primary process and Trump’s growing momentum, but not many have focused on how to change the system. Why do Republicans even bother with a primary in California which hasn’t gone red in the general election since Reagan sweep of Mondale? Why do Texans put up with Democrat nominees polluting our air space with their campaigning when we haven’t gone blue since 1976 for Carter?
My proposition is rather simple. Primaries should be held in the biggest strongholds for that party based on the previous presidential election results in order of win percentages.
For example, based on the chart above of the 2012 results, Utah and Washington, DC should have had the first primaries in 2016 – Utah for the GOP and DC for the Dems. Then, Wyoming and Hawaii, Oklahoma and Vermont, and so on. This allows those who are most likely going to support the vote to decide the best candidate for their party. Instead, we see Iowa (a notorious swing state) and New Hampshire narrowing the fields of both sides of the aisle. I would also be open to a variation on my plan to include a weighting based on electoral votes at stake. In that case, Texas would be the first for the GOP and California would be up for the Dems.
There are a couple of reasons that this percentage-based system would work better than our current one. First, it allows the base of the party to help weed the field. How on earth someone like Lindsay Graham can call themselves a Republican next to someone like Rand Paul is beyond me. Clearly, the party isn’t quite as unified as it once was.
Second, this eliminates the power of swing states in the primaries. The states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa typically get all of the attention in the General Election. Why not let the other states that are deeply entrenched in party politics get some love too? Plus, the trips to the deeply red/blue states would allow those front-runners to work up some fundraising without spending oodles of those funds on traveling to meet more boosters.
One reason that primaries typically start with Iowa and New Hampshire is that they are easy to campaign in. Why run all over a huge state like Texas when New Hampshire is about the size of the DFW metroplex. While I will concede that point, I just don’t think New Hampshire should be a deciding factor in choosing who the GOP candidate for President will be when they likely won’t go red in November.
I value the notion of equality as much as the next guy, yet our country has gotten so big that allowing the small percentage of Illinois Republicans to help choose the candidate is unfair to the tried and true conservative branch of the party. Ted Cruz got tremendous flak for using the phrase “New York values” in one of the GOP debates. The reality is that most Texas Democrats are more conservative than many New York Republicans. This is what Cruz meant. There is a disparity between these factions. Wouldn’t it be more conducive to purity of party (and hopefully the rise of third party groups) to maintain certain ideals for the party platform? As such, wouldn’t it make sense to choose someone who appeals to those pure ideals, and the people who back them, with a percentage-based primary election?
I feel like I have rambled long enough on this. Please like, comment, or share this with others.