See parts 1 and 3 (links at bottom). It should go without saying, but then I realize that sometimes Democrats read conservative blogs, so: READ PART 1 FIRST. THIS IS PART 2.
My proposal involves some carrot, and a whole lotta stick. The monkeys are out of the cages and flinging poo at each other. I don’t think enticement works here. This proposal is brutally efficient. If you are a candidate and don’t play along, you’ll be labeled a media whore and Democrat shill. In the unlikely event you should win the nomination, you won’t even be allowed to give a speech on the convention floor. If you are a state party and don’t play along, your delegates will not be seated or counted at the convention.
I think getting that established right up front, and enforcing it on the first couple of offenders, will produce a remarkable degree of compliance. So here we go.
In chronological order as the season plays out.
- Declaration of candidacy — no change. This is America, anybody can run and be judged on their merits, and declare as soon or as late as they want to.
- Debates — have the national GOP sponsor a series of debates
- At least 5 debates, at 3 week intervals.
- Starting Nov 1 (this is important — not a day earlier). We must give this season a slower start.
- All candidates are invited who are currently polling at least 3% of likely Republican primary voters in Rasmussen or Gallup.
- The national GOP decides when, where, and who moderates, and what the format and questions are.
- This is not a rule, just a highly recommended guideline. Have the moderators be prominent, influential conservatives. Picture Rush Limbaugh, Thomas Sowell, Haley Barbour, Jed Babbin, Fred Thompson, Ramesh Ponnuru,Andrew Napolitano, Ed Morrissey and a couple of those FNC hotties like Kim Guilfoyle and S.E. Cupp. (uh oh, did I just objectify them?? Oh noes!!!!) Also have some prominent Republicans and trustworthy Independents who aren’t so distinctly conservative, perhaps even a libertarian-leaning person or two — Former President George W Bush, Peggy Noonan, Dick Cheney, Matt Drudge, Bill Kristol, John Stossel, and Megyn Kelly. Can you imagine how entertaining such debates would be to Republican voters? And can you imagine how insightful and pertinent the questions would be? Republican candidates would have a chance (finally) to answer questions that they and their voters care about.
- All debates by ABC, NBC, YouTube, etc, are to be boycotted before the end of the 5 RNC debates. For the GOP debate system, eligibility for these debates is contingent on turning down all other debates. A candidate chooses either/or. Play the left-wing media game and hit all those debates, or hit the RNC-sanctioned debate series. We’re going to royally cheese off most significant media outlets. But who cares, they hate us anyway, and frankly they can’t hurt us in this area. We know CSPAN and FNC would jump all over the chance to televise these debates — and we give their people all the before-and-after-debate commentary and analysis, face-time, exclusive access, etc. And let’s be real. Almost 40 million viewers watched Sarah Palin’s 2008 Convention speech, and 9 million of those watched it on FNC. These debates will draw huge, off-the-charts ratings.
- The Primary season — Iowa and New Hampshire go bye-bye as the lead-off states. As I stated earlier, the national party needs to assert authority and dominate this process, while being a benevolent and fair arbiter of the state machinery. I propose:
- that the first 2 primaries be the first and second Tuesday on or after March 1. One state each week.
- they be selected to go on a lottery basis for each 4-year cycle.
- states eligible for a “front 2” will have to have gone GOP in 3 of the last 4 presidential elections (split-electoral-vote states get no consideration unless they go unanimously GOP in 2 of the last 4). They will have to be worth at least 8 electoral votes, and not have been a “front 2” in the last 3 cycles.
- to be able to seat delegates at the convention, primaries (or caucuses) must be closed. Not semi-open, not semi-closed (see definitions). Only Republicans select the Republican candidate for President.
- Any state going earlier than those first 2 states seats no delegates in the convention. Any state not having closed primaries, no delegates. It is likely this will not initially deter some (IA and NH, I bet you a thousand dollars). The left-wing media will lionize these states; it is their one chance to influence the process. But it won’t count for much, and it won’t happen the second cycle. Read the next point to see how fast the candidates will lose interest in outlaw early states.
- Candidates who even “file” (whatever the term is) and/or make campaign stops after November 1 in states that violate the above, such candidates will be kicked out of any remaining RNC debates, and will not be allowed to speak at the convention, even the acceptance speech should that person win the nomination. Brinkmanship? Yep. But don’t you love the taste of gunpowder? It’s a time for political courage by the party, for once.
- No “super-days”. Using the number of electoral votes as my guide (good rule of thumb, another barometer will do), no primary day may have more than 70 electoral votes at stake (that’s less than 15% of the total). This allows little bitty states to combine their “purchasing power” without Republicans getting stupid about it. How to arbitrate whose primary is when? I’m open, but I’d suggest a first-come, first serve.
- The Convention — Have it in July for Pete’s sake, the first full week after the July 4th holiday. This compresses the primary season (March – June), and magnifies the general election season. This is done de facto anyway, so why not make it legit, and give our guy/gal a full running start in the general campaign.