Nevada to retreat on caucus date?
posted at 11:20 am on October 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
First the Iowa GOP had a rare moment of selflessness, and now it appears that Nevada Republicans might demonstrate a little cooperation. Will political wonders never cease? As veteran political analyst Jon Ralston reported last night, the Nevada GOP may agree to end the boycott of its caucus by moving it back three days — and may move leadership out the door as well, although Ralston isn’t happy about any of it:
Whether it is Jan. 17 or 18th – or, as some geniuses suggest, Feb. 4 – Nevada seems poised to move its date, bowing to intense pressure from the Republican National Committee. The Nevada GOP spin is likely to be: “We did this to maintain comity among the states and inside the party.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to chat soon with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus – Priebus already made his position clear at The Venetian at the presidential debate – and I’d expect a caving announcement soon thereafter.
Beyond the New Hampshire supremacy clause – apparently it is in the Constitution – and the RNC begging Nevada to dig itself out of the hole it dug with toothless rules that allowed Florida to leapfrog four early states, unrest among the loony faithful also is driving this. Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian is facing an insurrection this weekend from the crazies – and there are many of them inside the central committee – so she is trying to head that off with an olive branch. Republican National Committeeman Bob List appears to have capitulated without a fight to Priebus and Committeewoman Heidi Smith has always sided with the wingnuts and has undermined the state’s moves since the kerfuffle began.
It’s over, folks, I fear; it’s just the terms and manner of surrender we are waiting for.
In one sense, I feel bad for Nevada, which worked within the system to move its primary up the schedule with the national party’s blessing — only to see its position usurped by Florida in a unilateral, arrogant move. The RNC’s toothless response didn’t help, either. When exactly will the national parties start delivering penalties for leapfrogging that (a) will act as a deterrent and (b) will actually get implemented?
However, that doesn’t mean that Nevada didn’t exacerbate the problem by selecting a date that very obviously threatened to push the entire process back into 2011. January 17th would have been an obvious caucus date that would have allowed New Hampshire to meet its quasi-legal obligations (they somehow survived violating the seven-day clause in 2008) and give candidates the opportunity to spend time in Nevada before the caucuses. Wasn’t that the point of moving up the schedule in the first place?
Ralston casts this as a humiliating surrender to New Hampshire and the RNC, but the die was cast when almost all of the candidates joined the boycott. If Nevada thought that the presidential hopefuls should have directed their ire to Florida, they may have had a moral point — but no one wants to alienate Florida voters and the big Electoral College bounty that awaits in the general election.
The biggest loser? Jon Huntsman. For some reason, Huntsman boycotted the CNN debate on Tuesday, even though the other candidates joining in the Nevada boycott didn’t. Not only will he look foolish and inconsequential as a result of a retreat by the Nevada GOP, he’s given every other media outlet an excuse to cut him from future debates.
Breaking on Hot Air