DNC & RNC leaders & Sec's of State unite over needed reforms to 2012 primary calendar (Video)

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.

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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.

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Comments

 POSTED BY: rockspot ON July 9, 2008 - 7:25pm

I watched some of your videos on YouTube. I'm a registered Democrat, but I found it extremely disappointing in these days of 'inclusiveness' that you chose to invite only members of the RNC and DNC to participate in these discussions. Absent from the discussion were representatives from other parties like the Libertarian National Party, or the Green Party, etc., who also participate in the primary processes. Why did you exclude them from participating?

Also absent from the picture were females who represent more than 50% of the electorate. Why is that? Are we not good enough to participate in your process? You couldn't even include one token female? If it hadn't been for the newsman, you wouldn't have had a person of color either. With Clinton now out of your way, it appears we're back to more of the same with everything being run one good-old-boy's club or another.

Are you even considering Sen. Bill Nelson's plan? It's been introduced in the Senate and it were passed, it would not only change the way we would conduct primaries/caucuses, but would finally eliminate the electoral college.

As for me ... I'd be thrilled to see just one national primary held on the Second Tuesday in May. You can keep the general election the same and you can hold the General Election in November as it's always been held. You can even hold your conventions whenever you want. But most of all, I want my vote to counted, as it was cast, not just in the primary, but in the general election as well! I want to see an end to the electoral college and the popular vote used to elect our next president.

 POSTED BY: Don ON July 10, 2008 - 12:42am

We want everyone to weigh in. Maximum transparency. The National Caucus is not endorsing any plan but rather working for almost any change to the primary calendar.

We do advocate for a more orderly, fair and inclusive system. And one that begins well after the holidays of 2011. We're for greater participation all around.

We encourage everyone to activate by lobbying for their favorite plan or principles. To have their say and aim it where it might do the most good.

The major divide of opinion about primary reform is not red blue. It's big little. The interests of all parties within each state are more likely to be in accord on this matter. Open? Closed? Early? Late? Primary? Caucus?

Practically the two major parties, in this case led by the GOP rules limiting any actions to their convention, are driving the logistical reality for 2012. Lobby them. Or lobby someone to lobby them on your behalf.

The legislatures can & do act entirely independently setting many key election rules state by state. Lobby them

The Democratic Party should help now too. To give the Republicans a hint at least, of what they want or might be willing to accept. Lobby the Dem's. Your state party chair. Delegates. Members of the various rules committees. Congressional members. Your Governor.

The secretaries of every state have a responsibility for the orderly fair administration of what ever system they get, however conflicted. They have a powerful voice in each state's policy making. Lobby them.

And where are the editorial boards on this? Difficult civic process recommendations should be right up their ally. Lobby them to take a position; your position if you can.

Write an op-ed. There are multiple stories in every state, each with its own culture, demographics, civic tradition and political calculations. Each state a different laboratory for democracy evolving.

As for the National Caucus, we'll keep pushing for a primary that, if nothing else, starts later. We believe that will benefit everyone. We'll keep spotlighting more voices from more and more places. More ideas. More attention.

I'm learning stuff every day.

The story will keep building right up till we see how the GOP handles it in MN in less than 6 weeks. Not much time!

Thanks for taking your time and giving some thought to a very difficult policy question.

2012 Reform (Videos)

Open Caucus Institute Introduction