Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More primary reform

On Monday, we linked to the National Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform, which urges more public participation in how we run primaries.

One question we had was how you could reform the system so that it's shorter and more inclusive, since those two seem mutually exclusive. Length would seem positively correlated with inclusion. The longer a candidate has to campaign, the more likely s/he'll catch fire.

But anyone who lived through the thrilling 2008 season knows the system is fundamentally broken. Iowa lasted longer than New Hampshire, which lasted longer than Nevada, which lasted longer than South Carolina, which lasted longer than the general.

So how do you reconcile inclusion with brevity? That's the toughie, and NPC's goal isn't to circumvent fairness, but rather facilitate it through public engagement.

Director Don Means emailed me yesterday to explain further:

Our role at NPC is not to push for a particular reform plan but to provide a platform for any and all plan proposals to find voice. Simply to make the point that this is a critical process and the foundation of presidential elections, arguably the country's most important public policy decision. And is therefore a public responsibility to participate in the ongoing reform and redesign of the election system.

So muse on these things for a bit, because again, the how plays a big role in determining the who.