Democrats looking to revamp primaries


The 2008 election season was notable for many things – most particularly a showdown between a black and a woman at a time when no member of either group had ever gotten so close to a major party presidential nomination. But not to be lost in the shuffle was a horrifically flawed primary system that actually caused the Democrats to bypass two entire states. DNC Chair and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has announced that one of the primary considerations in the hiatus between now and 2012 will be fixing the system.

“This Commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate,” said Kaine.

Kaine has formed a committee co-chaired by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) of South Carolina and Sen.Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to study the matter and recommend changes. The focus will be on three things: “1) changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held 2) reducing the number of superdelegates and 3) improving the caucus system.”

Kaine said he will reach out to his opposite numbers on the Republican side to make the two party’s systems as congruent as possible.

RBR/TVBR observation: 2008 turned into a gigantic game of leap frog as individual states were tripping over one another to get to the front of the primary line in order to have a say in the results. Little did anybody know that the Democratic contest would drag all the way into the summer. But the end result from a media economics perspective was killing the political add spend in Michigan and Florida. We suspect that once burned, the Democrats will have their act together well in advance of 2012 to avoid a rerun.

In general, any system the Democrats come up with that maximizes the value of each and every primary vote is a good thing. On the other hand, while any changes will be important going into the somewhat more distant future, the Democrats do not figure to be much of a factor in the 2012 primary season – for better or worse, they will likely be mounting a defense of the Obama administration, not seeking a new candidate.

Watch the Republicans. That’s where the action is going to be.