G.O.P lateset to put foot down on early primaries
Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
Just days after the Democratic party sounded alarm about the increasingly-earlier primary election schedule, the Republican party followed suit. The Republicans and Democrats have both now threatened not to seat delegates at national conventions of states which plan to hold primary elections ahead of party-imposed start-dates. Click below to see why Marc Santora at the New York Times explains why that might not mean much.
The Democratic National Committee carved out an exception for New Hampshire and South Carolina to vote early, so Democrats in those states have not been penalized.
But the Republican National Committee set up strict new rules in 2000 when it was already clear that states were jockeying to move up their primary dates. The rules were made strict in attempt to avoid the nominating process turning into a national primary, party officials said. Yet despite the rules, some 20 states are likely to all hold primaries on Feb. 5, creating a situation unlike any in modern history.
All the states must submit their nomination proposals to the national party by Sept. 4, so the dates of some primary contests are still not fixed.
“If we don’t do something, this is going to become a national primary, and there will be federal legislation that takes it away from the parties,” said a top national party official who spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations on the matter were continuing.
There is one possible scenario that could allow the states to seat a full delegation even after they are penalized. If there is a clear nominee by the time of the convention, as has been the case for the last 50 years, the presumptive candidate could petition the national party to restore the delegates from the penalized states. Such a move, however, could anger the states that held back from bumping up their primaries and they could challenge such a move.
While rules may have been put in place to avoid a “national primary,” they may have backfired. States jockeying for attention from presidential candidates are moving their primary elections earlier and earlier at a rapid clip which leaves little choice for candidates but to visit. No biggie for states, but this schedule doesn’t help Americans as a whole much. A longer campaign season means more fund raising — but does it mean a more substantial debate of the issues? Are Americans more likely to tune in or out as the presidential campaign becomes years, not months long? As we’ve reported here before, a national primary — or a variation on the theme — is now being discussed as a solution to the very problem we’re faced with today.
Previously on Why Tuesday?
Primary schedule is “game of political bumper cars”