If I were made head of the GOP, there are several moves I would push.
Please realize I am not registered as a person who has voted Republican in any elections. I have voted for some candidates from the “R” party, but the number of those is relatively small. I have found the Democratic Party to have some bad candidates. In some races, in the general election, I have left blank the vote for a particular office. If the candidate of another party is on the ballot, I seriously consider her or him. Otherwise, a blank for a particular office represents a vote of “none of the above” in a system that, too often, gives us a choice of the lesser of two evils.
The Republican process of winnowing out candidates for President of the United States is an example of how we end up with the candidates in the general elections. I would attempt to make several changes. For purposes of this discussion, let us consider my power would be sufficient—that any changes to the laws of particular States, in regard to those States’ primaries, would be made.
First, I would cut out this nonsense of early debates. In other words, I would shorten the season. Voters get numbed and bored enough. To see debates, in late summer of 2015, for an election some 14 months or so away is counter-productive to the candidates and the GOP. People’s sensibilities can be deadened by overexposure to a particular stimulus. In this case, voters become bored with the “show” of the election. Voters do not become better-informed about issues. I do not believe the political discourse was improved by Donald Trump’s views on the aesthetics of Carly Fiorino. The first debates would be held a month before the first primary or caucus.
Second, consolidate primaries in such fashion that States like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina—outliers as it were—lose their status as a screen of the first candidates to quit. Iowa’s caucuses do not even result in the actual delegates to their State’s convention. The results of small group dynamics in which people are bullied should not set the tone for our national election. New Hampshire has the tradition of being the first primary. One should consider presidential primaries are relatively recent on the political scene. New Hampshire can lose that little niche and the rest of the Nation will be safe. South Carolina as an early litmus test/hurdle is silly. This is a State that tried to secede from the Union—before 1861. People there should have the right to vote for whomever they wish—questions about voter ID laws aside—but should not have the power to eliminate candidates early in the primary season. Yesterday I heard, on NPR, a Republican strategist predict Rand Paul would be the next candidate to drop out of the race. I might disagree with Senator Paul’s positions on a lot of the issues, but he has a clear ideology. If we want an election with a real choice of ideologies, instead of a general election in which the candidates of the two major parties are fueled by the same small group of corporations and wealthy individuals, we would have Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont run on the Democratic ticket versus Senator Paul from the GOP.
My Libertarian friends, and others, suggest the State should not be involved in the primary election process at all. We can discuss that argument—and the proponents of that position have good points—at another time. Now we have the reality of primaries.
Third I would seek to have primaries’ schedules condensed. Maybe we could have three waves of primaries, with rotation each four years of what State are in what waves. Perhaps we could have one primary weekend. The first, our perhaps only, primary would be no earlier than the first part of May. Wait—I do not want to screw up the Indianapolis 500 Festival® and the lead up to the Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing®. Okay, then make the first primary no earlier than the first of June.
Finally, I would ban the grainy, opposing candidates mouth moving in slow-mo commercials. I know there is a First Amendment to consider, but I would not be a governmental entity. I would be the head of the GOP. Those ads do nothing to educate the public about the issues.
Oh, one more point: I would ask the GOP to recognize the New York Yankees and Bill Belichek are evil. First, because they are. Second, those States are pretty blue.
These simply are suggestions. In the absurd circus of the campaign so far, people have lost track of issues—and the one big, juicy conspiracy out there. With all the millions in the Clinton war chest, and with Trump’s past positions as antithetical to the GOP voter “base” such as those positions have been, has anyone given thought to the notion Donald Trump is a plant? The Democratic Party could not have asked for a better person to lead the pack than The Donald at this point.