With only one candidate realistically left to pick from, much of the heat has been taken off of the RNC rules committee for their pre-convention meeting this year. Still, they will have a number of questions to settle which have nothing to do with the floor nominating process. One idea being kicked around is yet another shake-up of the order in which the early states go for the 2020 presidential primary. While there seems scant chance that they’ll scrap the calendar entirely and go to random rotations or regional primary dates (as they really should), that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes.
On top of the list for some members is kicking Nevada out of the early line-up and replacing them with a better organized and more reliable state. (Politico)
Nevada is likely to lose its place as the first Western state to vote in the Republican presidential nomination contest, several GOP leaders tell POLITICO.
For three successive elections, the state has been grouped in the vaunted class of early-voting states, joining Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as the bellwethers that garner the most attention from presidential candidates and help winnow voters’ choices. But for the third straight primary season, Nevada’s caucuses have been wracked by embarrassing procedural errors, low turnout, confusion among attendees and questions about the integrity of the process…
Republican National Committee members say there’s growing momentum behind an effort to strip Nevada of its early place in line — handing it instead to either Colorado or Arizona.
Nevada remains a key, contested state, but it’s true that their caucus process has been a hot mess and it doesn’t seem to be getting significantly better. If the RNC wants to make a change, this could be an excellent opportunity for them to begin sending a message which would clean up the process from the widely disparaged circus we went through this year, but for that to happen it will depend on who they give this early slot to and what they get in return.
One of the chief candidates being discussed is Colorado. It’s also a contested state with potentially critical importance in the general election, but in terms of fixing the overall nomination process it sounds like an insane choice at first glance. Colorado was one of the few states which had no binding vote where Republicans in the state could express their preference in presidential candidates and bind delegates to them. Letting them jump in early with such a scheme would be precisely the wrong message. But from the sound of things, Colorado’s state party is ready to improve their process if it enhances their chances of going early next time.
“We are absolutely working on the strategy to try to put ourselves in that position,” said Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.
House has pushed state lawmakers to enact legislation establishing a statewide presidential primary, which he said RNC members would view favorably. The bill is being actively considered by lawmakers but has only cleared early procedural hurdles.
House said Colorado Democrats are generally on board as well. “If we can turn this into a presidential primary state, then we can make a very good case for being the first state in the West,” he said.
As I’ve stressed here previously, the RNC can’t (and shouldn’t) be dictating every single rule to the states. (A rather non-conservative idea to begin with.) But what they can do is offer a series of sticks and carrots to encourage them to improve the process. If they can make this offer to the Colorado GOP and convince them to actually hold a primary where registered Republicans get to pick their choice for the nomination in exchange for a more favorable position in the lineup we could get the ball rolling in the right direction.
In a season with a lot of disappointing or simply embarrassing news coming out of the GOP primary, this has the potential to be a bright spot. Let’s hope the rules committee seizes this opportunity and gives other states like North Dakota and Pennsylvania some ideas which could lead to similar improvements.