As this year’s seemingly interminable primary season drags on, and we’ve yet to hit election season, I’ve come to realize how spoiled I was by 2012. That year, everyone knew who the Democratic candidate was going to be (frustrati stupidity aside), and we all got to sit back in stunned disbelief at what the Republicans were doing. This year showed that both parties nomination process is messy, and that the media gets things wrong more than ever. So here are some things I’d like to see in the future.
1. The media doesn’t start speculating on the future race until after the mid-terms.
When I look back at it, the political press, apparently having no better things to do, were speculating about the 2016 race and handicapping it within a week after the 2012 election. Various names in both parties were touted, “hot” potential candidates were given lots of attention, and that went on … and on. With the exception of Hillary Clinton, not a single one of the candidates they spent enormous amounts of space speculating on is currently in the race. That should be a lesson (it won’t), and that’s aside from the reality that no one cares, even the political junkies.
2. No one can announce until June 1’st of the year before the election. I’d like even later, but still, 17 months is plenty. Again, most people aren’t paying attention anyway, and it distracts from any other elections that are going on, like the local elections we have here. In fact, I’d like to see the whole exploratory committee fiction disappear while we’re at it
3. No more caucuses. One of the things that’s been pointed out by a number of people is that caucuses are fundamentally undemocratic. They’re not private, they use arcane rules, take a long time, and at the end of the day, they’re only attended by the small portion of the electorate which can afford to spend an entire day in a meeting. States have switched to a caucus from a primary, and it needs to be the other way around.
4. Close the primaries. Every presidential election year the “open” primaries create headaches. I remember all the arguments that were made for open primaries, the problem is that in actuality it’s been a failure. You have Democrats crossing over to try to sabotage a Republican candidate and vice versa, and you have independents all over the map. Each party is selecting its candidate, and that person should be picked by the people who belong to that party.
5. Tighten up the schedule, and set rotations. One of the biggest headaches back in 2008 was the scramble by numerous states to “get a voice” and move their primaries to an early date. All it really ended up doing was making a mess, and extending the primary season out further than ever before. While that’s been “fixed,” we still run from February into June. The end result is that everyone is seriously fatigued by them, and the states at the end usually feel left out. Instead, set up groups of states – even make them regional – and run them together in a series of “Super Tuesdays,” and rotate the group’s position each election cycle
That’s my list of “what I’d like to see in the future.” Do I think any of that is going to happen? Well, some. I think the caucuses are going to be reduced, and some “open” primaries will be closed. The first one involves some self-discipline by the media, and the odds of that happening are about on a par with my winning the lottery. I do think that both parties can do better than what they’ve been doing, though.