Jim Clark – President of Republican Advocates and a member of the Washoe County & Nevada State GOP Central Committees, as well as a columnist for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza – writes this week that he agrees with my concerns about the Nevada GOP switching from the presidential caucus system to a primary:
“Muth points out that the Democratic and Republican Parties are private, self-governing entities and that to default each party’s presidential selection process to the state would be particularly egregious for Republicans because we preach that nanny-state governments can’t do anything right. And indeed other states have dabbled into crossover primaries where anyone can vote for either party’s candidates and thereby the parties surrendered control of their selection process to the state.
“Muth also points out that the GOP cannot revert to a presidential primary election unless both the legislature and the Nevada Democrats agree to do so which is at best problematic. A primary instead of a caucus would mean candidates would have to spend money on mass media which would negate the importance of dedicated, informed and involved grass roots volunteers. The answer, Muth says, is to master the current system. He is right about this.”
So is Clark…who also notes that while the caucus system needs to fix some things – particularly “how to allow the military and other absentees to vote, how to conduct early voting, how to accommodate those who actually show up but don’t want to get involved in electing members to the parties’ governing structures” – they aren’t problems that can’t be fixed.
Clark also notes that the generally well-run caucuses in Washoe County resulted in an influx of new volunteers, new members on the Central Committee, and a better-than expected attendance at this year’s Lincoln Day Dinner. So despite all the naysayers who want to rush the party into a government-run primary, there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned caucus system – IF the party’s leadership get’s its stuff together and runs it right.
Or at least learns to count without using an abacus!