Calls to fix the primary process are getting louder. Last week, the National Presidential Caucus convened a round-table discussion with party leaders to discuss primary reform and to help raise awareness of important forthcoming deadlines to initiate change in the process, including:
- Bob Bennett, OH GOP State Chair & author of partially adopted Ohio Plan
- Jim Roosevelt, Chair Democratic Party Rules Committee
- David Norcross, Chair Republican Part Rules Committee
- Michael A. Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State, co-chair National Association of Secretaries of State
- Don Means, Director of the National Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform.
Ron Allen, Correspondent from NBC News moderated.
Video of this important bi-partisan discussion is available at http://www.nationalcaucus.org/projects
We expect to announce a joint declaration with additional voices joining in.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bi-partisan group of party leaders convene in NYC to urge action for reform of primary calendar for 2012 prior to important September 2008 deadline: the GOP Convention
-- RNC & DNC Rules Chairmen lead call for reform, Secretaries of State call for primaries to start later --
Sausalito, CA -- July 1, 2008 -- The National Presidential Caucus, a non-partisan and not-for-profit organization formed by the Open Caucus Institute to promote bi-partisan discussion on primary reform, convened a distinguished group of bi-partisan party leaders in New York City on June 24, 2008 to discuss the importance of reforming the 2012 Primary calendar.
Participating in the "National Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform" panel discussion included Bob Bennett, OH GOP State Chair & author of partially adopted Ohio Plan; Jim Roosevelt, Chair Democratic Party Rules Committee; David Norcross, Chair Republican Part Rules Committee; Michael A. Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State, co-chair National Association of Secretaries of State; Don Means, Director of the National Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform. The discussion was moderated by Ron Allen from NBC News. It is available for viewing @ http://www.nationalcaucus.org/projects
Through the National Presidential Caucus, the Open Caucus Institute hopes to enlighten the electorate of important party-mandated deadlines looming in September 2008 and aims to provide a direct response to the de facto national primary of 2008, the last minute calendar changes, states' unhappiness with IA & NH having perpetual first status, and the general malaise from party leaders on both sides of the aisle who are increasingly worried about the 2012 Primary calendar.
In an effort to increase the chances that a new primary plan will be adopted before 2012, the National Presidential Caucus initiated the roundtable discussion of these issues and launched a public awareness campaign at nationalcaucus.org to highlight the urgency and importance of the situation and to promote the discussion of these issues both online and off, and increase the quality of deliberation for more orderly, fair and inclusive reform alternatives.
According to Don Means, Director of the Open Caucus Institute, "In this historic year of 2008, with its record levels of participation, the formal primary process teeters on the brink of chaos. From Florida in 2000 to Florida and Michigan in 2008, the world has watched in amazement if not horror as the world's oldest democracy lurches from one systemic crisis to the next. It's important to promote discussion and action now," said Means. "The Republican Party may only, by its own rule, make changes at its national convention in Minneapolis in September. If no reform is adopted at the Republican Convention, there's little the Democratic Party, which gives itself more time to consider changes, can do later that will matter much."
"Because of the timing of the Republican rules process, it is important that both parties work together now if there is to be any change in the presidential nominating schedule," said James Roosevelt, Co-chairman of the DNC Rules Committee.
Republican National Committee Rules Chairman David Norcross said, "I believe we are closer to getting some kind of meaningful reform in June of 2008 than ever before."
Toward that goal, in April 2008, the Republican Rules Committee adopted the so-called Ohio Plan which establishes a block of small states to have the option to stage their contests in advance of all remaining states who would be divided into three roughly equal groups to subsequently vote on a rotating basis. The plan, which next goes to the convention for consideration, also protects exemptions for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to lead off the process. A major stumbling block with the Ohio Plan, however, has been the dissatisfaction of larger states in yielding primacy to early small states who forward the argument that only small states allow the kind of face to face campaigning that gives unknown or underfunded candidates a chance to catch hold and effectively compete.
According to Ohio Plan author, Bob Bennett state GOP chair, "You either believe in retail politics or you don't."
Both Michael A. Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State and Trey Grayson, Kentucky Secretary of State believe the primary season should begin later.
“I’m pleased after thorough discussion and debate there was a consensus among individuals that change needs to take place to restore order to the nomination calendar," said Michael A. Mauro, Iowa Secretary of State. "The process – unlike in this year’s election – needs to start later. More importantly, I praise this bi-partisan group’s recognition of the importance of maintaining the traditional roles of both Iowa and New Hampshire as first-in-the-nation.”
"Each year our country's primary calendar becomes even more compressed, and this trend is damaging to our political process," commented Trey Grayson, Kentucky Secretary of State prior to the event. "It is essential that we give citizens the chance to discuss the important issues facing our country."
"The Open Caucus Institute urges every citizen, every state and both national parties to give intense focus to this vital public policy issue that will determine how the next primary will be run. We encourage everyone to become informed on the history of the process, the various proposals being made and to participate by advocating for the plan they support," said Means. "If the country believes the spread of democracy is worth fighting and dying for then we should at least insure we have a system that's suitable for export."
Open Caucus Institute is a public benefit corporation working for a more participatory democracy.