Republicans Consider Outlawing Winner-Take-All Presidential Primaries in Early States

The Republican National Committee will consider changing its rules for the presidential candidate selection process.  Specifically, the party is mulling over the idea that states that choose delegates to the national convention earlier than April 1 must not use winner-take-all systems.  Also the party wants to work with Democrats, and with state legislatures, to guarantee that no more presidential primaries be held earlier than mid-February.  In 2008 there were January presidential primaries in New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina, and Florida.  See this story.


Republicans Consider Outlawing Winner-Take-All Presidential Primaries in Early States — 11 Comments

  1. I predict a less-than-successful implementation, for the same reason that the electoral college isn’t by proportion in more than a couple states. The states, especially these early states, want to be seen as important, as decisive, and as having a large impact on the outcome of the election. By dividing their delegates, they weaken themselves.

    Sure, it’d be better for everyone if every state divided, but it’s better for each state to be winner-takes-all.

    I guess it depends how much sway the national party has over the state parties.

    I have an alternate suggestions: an approval primary. Let everyone vote for (“approve”) as many candidates as they wish to, and each candidate gets a number of approving delegates in proportion to the number of approval votes he receives; so if Florida has 33 delegates, and 65% approve of A and 45% approve of B and 30% approve of C, A gets 22 delegates, B gets 14, and C gets 10. (Obviously there will be some overlap; but the voters are allowed to approve multiple candidates, and the delegates can to. In this example, between 1 and 13 delegates will have to approve both A and B, for instance.)

  2. Remember McGovern vs Humphrey, California, 1972? The Democrats lost the election that year because of California’s winner take all primary. It’s a step in the right direction. Let’s have percentage primaries. You start getting delegates at 5 or 10 percent. That way you have more candidates who are willing to campaign in those states. Also, one region at a time after Iowa and New Hampshire, every two weeks.

  3. Uniform definition of Elector in ALL of the U.S.A.

    P.R. and App.V. — NO STONE AGE primaries, caucuses and conventions.

    ONE election.

    STOP the EVIL rule by the Donkey/Elephant party hack monarchs/oligarchs — before it is too late.

    ALL sorts of alarm bells are going off — political, social, economic. The EVIL D/E party hack leaders are deaf, dumb and blind.

  4. #1 and #2 make good sense. If I may add to their plan, I would recommend regional primaries that rotate every 4 years. For instance have all of the New England states have their primaries on Feb 19th. Then have another region, maybe the southeast, have their primaries on Feb 26th. Then the Pacific northwest on Marh 12th, and so on. This would cut down on travel costs. Rotating the regions would ensure that a candidate from the same region would not build up a big early lead just because the first regional primary is there every four years. This plan gets rid of the fact that every year there are 4 or 5 Tuesdays where primaries are held in states very far apart. Hope this is understandable…

  5. The truth is that the overall system is not going to change. It is practically impossible. Political parties can hold Primaries and caucuses anyway they want. They are not government agencies or groups and individual state parties operate within the rules of their parties not the government. Freedom of association and choice still prevail today.

  6. No one has said otherwise, Richard G.

    We’re just making suggestions that we think the national Republican party might find helpful, not threatening them with a new law to MAKE them do it our way.


    Although many state laws already DO interfere with how the state parties are allowed to operate, so I’m not sure exactly how appropriate your point is anyway.

  7. # 5 Nominations for PUBLIC offices by PUBLIC Electors is PUBLIC business — TOTALLY subject to PUBLIC L-A-W-S.

    See the 2 Texas White Primary cases circa 1928-1932 and all sorts of later cases regarding nominations — part of the PUBLIC system in the entire election system.

    See the 1989 Eu case about the separate PUBLIC and private parts of the party hack parties.

    This AIN’T the EVIL bad old days before official PUBLIC ballots came along in 1888.

  8. Can we PLEASE stop coddling Iowa and New Hampshire? In kindergarten, most people are disabused of the mistaken idea that they always have the right to go first. It looks like two states didn’t get the memo.

  9. I think we should just be done with this once and for all, and hold the 2016 Presidential Primary at the same time as the 2012 Presidential [General] Election. I don’t think you could get earlier than the term before…

  10. What POSSIBLE objection could ANYONE have to our system of appointing about 150,000 Iowans and about 300,000 New Hampsters to decide for us who should be our choices for president? Heck – that’s almost a full two tenths of a percent of the population of this country. Now that’s efficient! Isn’t that what republican democracy is all about?

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