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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Nominating Process Reform?

As attentive readers know, the DLC is spending a lot of time right now arguing for a “reform insurgency” agenda for Democrats, including a specific agenda for political reform. One thing we haven’t gotten into yet is the possibility of reforming the nominating process for president, which is, by any measure, strange if long-settled.
But now comes DailyKos with a welcome argument for opening this question as well. I find it particularly interesting that Kos likes the idea of rotating regional primaries, which I’ve personally supported for about a quarter of a century.
This is the sort of topic we ought to be discussing now, because, like election procedure reform, it is an issue that people tend to forget about between cycles, and an issue that gets caught up in machiavellian calculations about which candidate would benefit or suffer from reform as we get closer to the next cycle. And unlike election procecure reform, Democrats can, if they choose, change their system for nominating presidential candidates without much cooperation from the GOP.
The legendary Iowa Caucuses, of course, would be the first “casualty” of any change in the nominating process, and I have a lot of political friends there myself who probably wish I would never mention the subject. But in their hearts, even Iowans and New Hampshirites know our current nominating system is the last thing anyone would come up with if he or she were designing a rational, fair system. And Iowans in particular should understand this, since they hail from the one state that has designed a rational system for congressional redistricting aimed at ensuring fair, competitive races at a time when in most of the country House members and many state legislators are totally insulated from competition or the popular will.
I applaud Kos for raising this subject, and after watching him agonize throughout the 2004 cycle about the difficulty of overcoming entrenched Republican control of the U.S. House, I hope he’ll get on the bandwagon for redistricting reform as well.

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