John Cole writes,
I am of the opinion that the primary process is broken. How do we fix it?
While I’m not sure that the primary system is broken or what precisely John finds objectionable with the status quo, I nonetheless venture the following reform:
A two-round national primary would be my suggestion. All comers get to run in the initial race in say, March. A run-off would be held in May.
This would have some significant benefits:
1. Eliminating the hugely inflated power of Iowa and New Hampshire and especially the ridiculous emphasis on “retail politics” in those states, wherein voters expect to have their butts kissed–several times–by a candidate before voting for them.
2. As a corollary to the above, empowering states who now hold their primaries later in the cycle. California, whose electoral votes are about a quarter of what’s needed to win the election, is usually irrelevant to the process.
3. Eliminating the “wasting my vote” mentality, wherein voters in early states feel they have to chose a candidate who can win. On the first ballot, partisans would feel free to vote their conscience, since they’d get a second bite at the apple if their candidate gets eliminated.
The costs should be negligible or non-existent, since there is usually a need for a run-off election for a handful of candidates down the ballot anyway.