As the RNC considers its options, it should remember that while states are under no obligation to pay for the nominating contests set by the national parties, the parties are under no obligation to recognize the results from states that have violated the rules. To preserve the agreed-upon system in this cycle, the RNC must show it is prepared to enforce the rules, and to consider additional sanctions if necessary.
The balance of power in the nominating process has been skewed by the states’ unwillingness to respect the national parties and by the unwillingness of the parties to do much about it. Ultimately, the biggest victims of this quadrennial farce are the voters.
However, if New Hampshire makes good on its threat to move its primary to December 2011, potentially prompting Iowa to also move into December to maintain its position as the first contest, the whole system could implode — which may be the best outcome of all. For a very small window, both national parties would have the political cover to reenvision the rules for a fair, balanced nominating process.