If you agree that the current process for nominating presidential nominees is a disaster that disenfranchises millions of Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, including yourself, you need to act. Whether you like the American Plan, the Delaware Plan, the Rotating Regional Plan, the Same-Day National Primary, or some other concept for systemic reform of the presidential nomination process, you need to act. If you are not already active in your local Republican of Democratic organizations, get involved. If you are aleady active, present the American Plan or the presidential nomination reform of your choice to your local political organization and get them to pass a resolution similar to one of the following:
A principal problem with the presidential primary reform issue has been that, although a number of politicians have recognized the desirability of reform, there has been little political will to follow through because it has been virtually a non-issue for the media and the public. However, the climate is changing, and you can be part of this. The grassroots involvement that has always been lacking on this issue is gathering momentum. Five California county Democratic central committees, two California assembly district Democratic committees, the California Young Democrats, and the Young Democrats of America have endorsed the American Plan. Additionally, California Democratic Party chairman Art Torres introduced the American Plan at the 1 October meeting of the Price-Herman Commission, and also spoke about the plan at the CDP Executive Board meeting in Manhattan Beach the following day. The CDP is set to consider a resolution on the American Plan at its next Executive Board meeting in January 2006.
Naturally, because of this year's Price-Herman Commission, we have been concentrating our efforts on the Democratic Party; however, we also recognize the RNC’s long history on this issue, and hope to stimulate a revival of that effort. A bipartisan strategy is essential to the success of this mission.
In its 1 October meeting, several Price-Herman Commission members expressed the sense that reforming the nomination process must go well beyond the minor changes the commission is considering for 2008. They want to "do the whole ville," but they’re worried about the party taking point on this issue and getting shot up by the other party. The concern is a valid one. It also exists on the Republican side, and it was a contributing factor to the demise of the Brock Commission report at the 2000 Republican National Convention.
Another sentiment expressed in the Price-Herman Commission was the lack of Republican cooperation on the issue of presidential primary reform. This is tragicomic, given that Bill Brock expressed his frustration to me a couple of weeks ago that the Price-Herman Commission had not contacted him. He remains very passionate on this issue, and he is ready to join forces with like-minded Democrats. In a phone conversation in August, former California secretary of state Bill Jones said that he is for any proposal that "shakes up the system."
Fixing the system is not a leap of faith that either party need take alone, and we can create an opportunity for them to take the leap together for 2012. The DNC is unwilling to effect a major change for 2008, and the RNC's rules prevent it from doing so. But what can be accomplished in the next couple of years is the creation of a climate of reform within the Republican Party to mirror the work we have begun in the Democratic Party. If successful, the RNC could empanel its own commission in 2007 to recommend to the 2008 Republican National Convention systemic changes for implementation in 2012. Parallel to this and for the same purpose, the DNC could empanel a successor commission to the present Price-Herman Commission.
The major challenge is getting the word out. The mass media only seems interested in feeding us the scandal du jour or any simple-minded political issue that comes with a face on it: John Roberts, Tom DeLay, Scooter Libby... the list is endless. Meanwhile, they give no attention to more complex issues that can improve the political structure: instant runoff voting, open source code for electronic voting systems, campaign finance reform, presidential primary reform. Political personalities are secondary; pay no attention to the people behind the curtain. Let's fix the system. A better system will empower us to promote better politicians.