Reform the Primary Process

1. All States Vote on One Day

This Republican primary, the most bitterly contested in decades, seems to have been decisively won two weeks before my state got to vote. My state, which will remain unnamed, also happens to be by far the largest in the nation. As of this writing, four other states also haven’t voted. Combined, these effectively disenfranchised states have a population of over 51 million people, or about 16% of the national population. (I could look up specific numbers of Republican registrants in these states out of the national total, but how much difference does it make?)

But really, the bigger problem here is that the primary “season” turns media horse-race bias up to 11, and exacerbates superficial questions of personality and he-said-she-said controversy versus policy. A certain candidate used this to great advantage for free, non-stop media coverage.

If we had all voted the same day Iowa had voted, a certain candidate would probably not be the nominee.

On the flip side, I wonder for the sake of those early-voting states: how many people have changed their mind in the intervening months since their votes were “locked in?” A lot sure has happened.

2. National Popular Vote

A lot of voters in both parties are upset about the existence of “superdelegates,” party officials who have a huge say in candidate selection with no accountability to voters. I’d take it a step further: there shouldn’t even be “delegates” to begin with. One person, one vote is the sane approach, and I would strongly consider joining a party that actually applied this principle.

 

3. Limit the Number of Candidates

How many Republican candidates did we start out with? 17? Again, this will lead people to consolidate around whomever stands out in the most superficial possible ways, like a certain candidate.

4. Good Grief, Those “Debates” Tho

They were more like group interviews. Isn’t a debate supposed to be something like: everyone gets asked the same question, and then they critique each others’ answers? These were more like: moderators inject glaring bias with individually-targeted questions in an effort to guide the audience to a predetermined conclusion. And to be fair, this was often used against a certain candidate, who overcame it to his credit.

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