Monday, September 27, 2021
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The Nominating Process Is Rigged

Jay Cost has written an excellent article at the Weekly Standard, Morning Jay: The Nomination Rules Are Rigged Against Grassroots Conservatives. I encourage you to read the entire article. The title may appear to be just another piece whining and groaning about results, but there is a different message in this one. The message is that conservatives are not active Precinct Committee members in the local Republican Party. The fix is not to write a blog complaining about the situation. The fix is to become a PC and have the power to elect the state committee members who can change the state Republican party rules in favor of the conservatives.
Here is an excerpt from the Jay Cost article.

The lefty do-gooders who spearheaded the reforms of the 1970s thought that they were saving the parties from the machine hacks, but in fact they threw out the baby with the bathwater. They effectively destroyed the party at the grassroots level, and handed the nominating power over to candidates, strategists, donors, the news media, and ill informed voters who dominate the primaries. The biggest losers in this scheme were the kinds of committed citizens who took the time to participate in local party affairs, and on the GOP side that inevitably meant the conservatives.

Here we get to the core flaw in selecting party nominees via primaries. I have written before that without competition between the political parties, we cannot really count on voters to make good decisions; it is the battle between the Democrats and Republicans that forces the electorate to focus on real problems and the partisan differences on how to solve them. Primaries are intra-party contests and thus do not offer that kind of clarification process. Hence, we have poorly informed voters backing a candidate because they like him or her more.

But wait, it gets worse!

Self-identified conservatives tend to be a majority of most primary electorates, so one would think that, even with the limits of primaries, you’d still get a quality conservative nominee. But that isn’t necessarily the case in a three-way race. That’s the final, huge problem with the primaries. They do not build consensus, which ultimately would require the assent of the conservative side of the GOP. Instead, they create a game similar to the show Survivor – “outwit, outplay, outlast.”

If you are a moderate Republican – e.g. Bob Dole or John McCain – you don’t need to win a majority of the conservative vote. You just need to do well enough among moderate Republicans so that you win more votes than your conservative opponents. Then, you simply wait for the media and the party establishment to pressure your conservative challengers into dropping out.

Personally, I believe a game similar to American Idol has been created for the primary process. If you are not too stoned to text message, then your American idol vote counts. The completely overboard openness in the primaries is just about the same.

I also believe there needs to be a distinction made between the general election and the primary election. The ill informed voter in the general election can participate because the political party primary process has done its due diligence to winnow down the choices that are on the ballot. There will always be an opportunity for mischief and mistakes. No process is ever perfect, but it was a better process when the committed citizens who made the time available to participate in local party had the leverage removed by reforms. It’s not gone forever. Conservatives must fill the empty PC slots and undo the damage that has been done.

pilgrim
I am retired after 36 years of being a state of Indiana employee. I enjoy writing and reading conservative blogs.

8 COMMENTS

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8 COMMENTS

  1. y definition, we have the process ordained by the real grassroots, i.e. those that got involved at the local level.

    We need to replace and/or overwhelm the existing grassroots with more conservative grassroots and change the process to a more closed process that reflects the actual sentiment of a majority of the voters, whether they be defined as “grassroots” or not.

    But no matter what process we have a party re the nomination process and party infrastructure, the media will still exist that gives conservatives anal exams and the campaign finance laws will still exist that favors independent contractors that can raise money from others in small amounts over party machines. No amount of PCs will produce the courage one needs to stand up to the drive-bys and campaign finance laws can only be changed by Congress, not the parties.

    It enrages me that Iowa and NH get to winnow the field first, but what is most disappointing to me are the quality of the candidates we have in the first place, in terms of campaign skills of conservatives. The most reliable conservatives we had, i.e. Perry and Bachmann (and even Huntsman for some) were the worst at campaigning which includes the debates.

    I get the point of the Cost article and I favor others becoming a precinct committeeman (like I did at the behest of Unified Patriots, Cold Warrior, Ron Robinson et al) and join me in trying to change (RIG!smile) the system to favor conservative grassroots over time. But the people who have built the current system are THE majority of the grassroots as we speak.

    Grassroots doesn’t mean conservative. It means who shows up BEFORE elections.

    More later and great report pilgrim.. GC highly reccos.

    • I agree with you that in the 1970’s the local GOP gave away the leverage they had to the media and so many uninformed and unaffiliated voters in the primary process. Something similar has been going on for quite a while in our federal government. The US House and US Senate gave away to faceless bureaucrats in federal agencies like NLRB and EPA and HSA to create new laws, rules, and regulations with no approval and votes in the Congress at all.
      We the People will have to send to DC courageous warriors to undo this damage.

      • Yes, close the primaries and caucuses; have states more representative of conservatives go first; change campaign finance laws to comport with the First Amendment’s no law abridging free speech and thus allow rich donors to finance candidates as Reagan was financed; and have conservatives become reporters and own more media so there is the threat of anal exams for liberals and moderates to fear and to refute the lies of liberals against conservatives.

        But even after we do all that, we will have to have conservative candidates with courage that will still be willing to suffer fools and too many fried chicken dinners to run in the first place and that won’t succumb to Beltway fever 48 hours after they get to DC.

        And even before that, I question whether there are enough non-victim dependent addicts to Big Government left to form a majority even with one man with courage to lead them. I hope so.

        The real battle thus, must be at an even earlier level: conservatives must take over public schools from k-12 to universities and Hollywood while we’re at it.

  2. Good post, Pilgrim. Here’s in defense of smoky back rooms!

    Seriously, we’d be a lot more likely to get a candidate the majority would be willing to back enthusiastically if there was a little horse trading going on in caucuses versus the current program we have of splitting the conservative vote in open primaries and nominating a moderate [or moderately liberal] like Dole, McCain or Romney.

    • Smoke filled back rooms, e.g., the brokered convention,and the creaky “undemocratic” Electoral College system, after an indecisive first ballot – gave us Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Open floor “sunshine” conventions after major rules changes in the 1970s, gave America George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and by way of some finagling even Hillary Clinton complained about, Barack Obama. As you said, Queen, here’s to the smoky back rooms.

  3. This must be it Pilgrim, thanks for the analysis. It is at least a palatable explanation for where I personally find myself politically speaking. I see America in serious trouble, with half of the electorate zoned out,oblivious or willing accomplices. The answer for America’s problems, in a nutshell, is the Tea Party. Ergo either of the two candidates closest to the Tea Party, Perry and Bachman, were the best solutions for presidential candidates. But now,almost a year before the elections, they have been vaporized. How did this happen? All I know is, I didnt do it. I find myself in the position, as they are debating in various posts over at RS, of having to think of “reasons why Romney might not be so bad in the WH,” and the number 1 at the top of that list is, “well, he’s not four more years of Obama. ” This is a politically existential place were I, a humble conservative voter (who is serving in Catherine Engelbrecht’s True the Vote campaign as my part of the grass roots war) is NOT where I hoped or expected us to be – so far as choosing the REpublican Presidential candidate – back in Nov 2010. It’s rather dismal but we must go forward. Obama must be politically defeated ands removed from the WH.

  4. I wonder if it isn’t too late, Pilgrim. So many grass roots conservatives, especially new ones, aren’t registering GOP, but rather I. That has always worried me I would favor a grass roots campaign to say it, Writ Large, that the purpose is to take over the GOP. That way, maybe they’ll com eon board.

  1. y definition, we have the process ordained by the real grassroots, i.e. those that got involved at the local level.

    We need to replace and/or overwhelm the existing grassroots with more conservative grassroots and change the process to a more closed process that reflects the actual sentiment of a majority of the voters, whether they be defined as “grassroots” or not.

    But no matter what process we have a party re the nomination process and party infrastructure, the media will still exist that gives conservatives anal exams and the campaign finance laws will still exist that favors independent contractors that can raise money from others in small amounts over party machines. No amount of PCs will produce the courage one needs to stand up to the drive-bys and campaign finance laws can only be changed by Congress, not the parties.

    It enrages me that Iowa and NH get to winnow the field first, but what is most disappointing to me are the quality of the candidates we have in the first place, in terms of campaign skills of conservatives. The most reliable conservatives we had, i.e. Perry and Bachmann (and even Huntsman for some) were the worst at campaigning which includes the debates.

    I get the point of the Cost article and I favor others becoming a precinct committeeman (like I did at the behest of Unified Patriots, Cold Warrior, Ron Robinson et al) and join me in trying to change (RIG!smile) the system to favor conservative grassroots over time. But the people who have built the current system are THE majority of the grassroots as we speak.

    Grassroots doesn’t mean conservative. It means who shows up BEFORE elections.

    More later and great report pilgrim.. GC highly reccos.

    • I agree with you that in the 1970’s the local GOP gave away the leverage they had to the media and so many uninformed and unaffiliated voters in the primary process. Something similar has been going on for quite a while in our federal government. The US House and US Senate gave away to faceless bureaucrats in federal agencies like NLRB and EPA and HSA to create new laws, rules, and regulations with no approval and votes in the Congress at all.
      We the People will have to send to DC courageous warriors to undo this damage.

      • Yes, close the primaries and caucuses; have states more representative of conservatives go first; change campaign finance laws to comport with the First Amendment’s no law abridging free speech and thus allow rich donors to finance candidates as Reagan was financed; and have conservatives become reporters and own more media so there is the threat of anal exams for liberals and moderates to fear and to refute the lies of liberals against conservatives.

        But even after we do all that, we will have to have conservative candidates with courage that will still be willing to suffer fools and too many fried chicken dinners to run in the first place and that won’t succumb to Beltway fever 48 hours after they get to DC.

        And even before that, I question whether there are enough non-victim dependent addicts to Big Government left to form a majority even with one man with courage to lead them. I hope so.

        The real battle thus, must be at an even earlier level: conservatives must take over public schools from k-12 to universities and Hollywood while we’re at it.

  2. Good post, Pilgrim. Here’s in defense of smoky back rooms!

    Seriously, we’d be a lot more likely to get a candidate the majority would be willing to back enthusiastically if there was a little horse trading going on in caucuses versus the current program we have of splitting the conservative vote in open primaries and nominating a moderate [or moderately liberal] like Dole, McCain or Romney.

    • Smoke filled back rooms, e.g., the brokered convention,and the creaky “undemocratic” Electoral College system, after an indecisive first ballot – gave us Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Open floor “sunshine” conventions after major rules changes in the 1970s, gave America George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and by way of some finagling even Hillary Clinton complained about, Barack Obama. As you said, Queen, here’s to the smoky back rooms.

  3. This must be it Pilgrim, thanks for the analysis. It is at least a palatable explanation for where I personally find myself politically speaking. I see America in serious trouble, with half of the electorate zoned out,oblivious or willing accomplices. The answer for America’s problems, in a nutshell, is the Tea Party. Ergo either of the two candidates closest to the Tea Party, Perry and Bachman, were the best solutions for presidential candidates. But now,almost a year before the elections, they have been vaporized. How did this happen? All I know is, I didnt do it. I find myself in the position, as they are debating in various posts over at RS, of having to think of “reasons why Romney might not be so bad in the WH,” and the number 1 at the top of that list is, “well, he’s not four more years of Obama. ” This is a politically existential place were I, a humble conservative voter (who is serving in Catherine Engelbrecht’s True the Vote campaign as my part of the grass roots war) is NOT where I hoped or expected us to be – so far as choosing the REpublican Presidential candidate – back in Nov 2010. It’s rather dismal but we must go forward. Obama must be politically defeated ands removed from the WH.

  4. I wonder if it isn’t too late, Pilgrim. So many grass roots conservatives, especially new ones, aren’t registering GOP, but rather I. That has always worried me I would favor a grass roots campaign to say it, Writ Large, that the purpose is to take over the GOP. That way, maybe they’ll com eon board.

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