Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thoughts on the RNC's rule changes for 2016

I'm always skeptical of DC based organizations. There's been some griping about the changes, but I think the rules aren't going to change that much overall.

From The Hill:

The new 2016 rules will make it much harder for states to cut in line in the nomination process and will help Republicans avoid a repeat of a drawn out, bloody primary many believe damaged Mitt Romney's chances in 2012 of defeating President (Peter Principle in Chief) Obama.
"I'm really proud of you for this debate," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said following the vote, to a standing ovation from the committee. "This is a historic day for our party, and I thank you all for what you've done. … We will all have a much better process in 2016."
The new rules will help protect early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — from others who want to rush up to the front, and allow the party to hold an earlier convention, as they look to unite and raise more money for the general election.
The four designated early states will be required to hold their contests in February. States that vote between March 1 and March 14 will be required to award their delegates proportionally, weakening their impact, while states with primaries after that will assign their delegates in a winner-take-all contest, making them much more consequential in the delegate count and adding an incentive to wait.
The states that break those guidelines will face increased penalties compared to previous years. The committee passed a rule drastically shrinking the number of delegates that state would get at the party's nominating convention. States with 30 delegates or more would be cut down to just nine delegates plus the RNC's committee members, and states with less than 30 delegates would be cut down to 6 delegates plus their committeemen. 

This isn't going to be a cure all for the establishment's woes. This isn't going to be the boogeyman like Blackwell's wing thinks.

Virginia Committeeman Morton Blackwell and a half-dozen RNC members from state parties where the party's libertarian wing has wrested control fought hard against a series of changes to stretch the primary process out. Their fear is that a shorter primary season stymies the possibility a lightly funded movement conservative could win the nomination and unfairly benefits cash-flush, establishment candidates.  
The problem to be blunt was piss poor candidates, and the coronation attempts, along with some awful strategic blunders. If these rules were in affect in 2012, it would not have changed a thing. A long drawn out primary battle when candidates bash the hell out of each other leads to re-elections of people like the Peter Principle in Chief that's there now.
1. Romney. He lost to McCain in 2008 - in a Republican primary. That ALONE should have disqualified him. We all know how 'popular' McCain was among Republicans. Romney was the establishment choice in 08 and lost. He lost again. Did you really expect different for the general this time? People didn't trust him. The one time he caught on was when he didn't listen to his consultants and actually was himself in the first debate. The other times, he was tentative and followed the advice of bad consultants giving the same politicalspeak.

2. Why the Hell do you have hostile folks moderate the debates? We all know the media has a leftist bias. Why let them moderate the debates? MSNBC? CNN? POLITICO? George Stephanopoulos who was obsessed with banning contraception (a non issue since it wasn't going to happen)? Anderson Cooper? You're setting the candidates up for a gotcha. This is the era of the internet. You can set debates up with more than just the supposed "mainstream" media these days and get people to see it.

3. Part of the problem was there was no strong Romney alternative. This was far before New Hampshire. Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, and others all had their turn as the "not Romney" until the media and Romney machine went after them. (and not Obama)  In addition, you had a lot of conservatives join in trashing the "not Romneys" trying to clear the way for someone who wasn't running (Sarah Palin). Santorum was the best of the lot when Pawlenty dropped out early, and he lost bad in 2006. 

If you want to stop the coronation for the media favorite in 2016, it's going to take a strong credible candidate who can set up a good ground game. Organization, time, and groundwork. Set the stage in 2015, and have the campaign ready for 2016. Door knocks, signs, campaign visits, and a good presence in the communities you are targeting. Then use the primary work to carry over to the general. 
However, it all starts with the most important thing. The right candidate. Party leaders need to let primary voters pick the best candidate and not push their pet candidate with a coronation. Stop being afraid of Sharron Angle. That type of thinking would have stopped Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio. They aren't 100% perfect, but damn well better than Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist. 

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