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A Revolution that should not be televised

I love the fact that my friend and RedMaryland colleague G. A. Harrison is proposing reform in they way the Republican Party operates. Unfortunately, I could not disagree with him any more on one of his proposed solutions. In last night’s post, G. A. proposed conventions to nominate candidates.Notwithstanding the fact that state law preclude its implementation, I don’t think that this will benefit the Republican Party and its membership in the ways he thinks it would.

On the issue he writes:

I like mass meetings (caucuses) and conventions for nominating candidates. Primaries, which appear democratic, usually become little more than a money race – money that could be better spent in the general election. Mass meetings and conventions get people involved. They get people excited. They particularly involve and excite the people who will be out knocking on doors and making phone calls – the people who win elections.

However, things do not always work out in this manner. Yes, primaries do devolve into issues around money, Yes, large conventions get get people involved and get people excited. However, the idea of nominating conventions does create several issues:

  1. It doesn’t solve the money issue. If you are talking about large gatherings such as the ones in Virginia, money still plays a tremendous part in the convention process. Candidates still spend money prior to the convention. They spend money on ferrying people to and from the convention. It would take the current primary process and instead replace with a more byzantine version of the Iowa Caucus.
  2. The best candidate doesn’t always win. This year, Jim Gilmore was nominated at convention to be the nominee for Senate in Virginia. But you could argue that the Republican base was better represented by Bob Marshall, who also sought the nomination. Which leads us to….
  3. Principle. Republicans talk a lot about the marketplace of ideas. Should we not allow candidates to compete in this marketplace free of byzantine structures and a convention process that is more manipulatable than a primary election.

I’d also be concerned, of course, with the idea that this sort of lends itself to endorsement of candidates by the party, which I have written extensively about in the past.

I agree that we need to shake up the way we do business, but we need to do that through training and encouraging good conservative candidates to run than by throwing out the rulebook and starting anew.

(Crossposted)






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