Posts Tagged ‘Proportional Allocation’
August 9th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
GOP Copies Democratic Insanity on Presidential Primaries
Posted by Print

After observing the 2008 death-match between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, you would think that any political mandarin in his right mind would want to avoid a similar war of intraparty attrition. But since the Republican National Committee is in the business of failing to meet even the lowest of expectations these days, you’d be wrong.

Hotline profiles the RNC’s recent resolution to change the way the party of Lincoln picks its presidential candidates. The gist:

The proposal will move the earliest nominating contests — in IA, NH, SC and NV — back from early Jan. to Feb. It will also require states that hold nominating contests in March to award delegates based on the proportion of votes candidates win, eliminating the prospect of an early winner-take-all state that would effectively end the nominating process.

Proponents said the measure would avoid the calamity of a national primary. Already, nearly 40 states have primaries scheduled for the first possible day in the nominating calendar.

Let’s stipulate that there’s no such thing as perfect primary process (a point that New Hampshire GOP chairman — and former White House Chief of Staff — John Sununu makes in the Hotline piece). This is a political Rubik’s Cube to rival Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem.

That being said, proportional allocation of delegates is one of the worst of many bad ideas. One of the reasons that Republicans had a presidential nominee three months prior to Democrats in 2008 was because the winner-take-all system is centripetal. The proportional model used by Democrats is centrifugal, creating a party that can be just as fractured coming out of a primary season as going in. This is a road to a long and divisive primary season.

2008 should have permanently killed proportional allocation for both parties. But in professional politics, an idea’s worth is ofter inversely proportioned to its recurrence.