The Virtues and Vices of Political Trench Warfare
Readers like GOP Rules, Just Not the Candidates--David Frum
Today we asked, "Should the GOP revert to winner-take-all primaries?" Most voters seemed happy with 2012's new proportional system, in which states divvy up delegates to the RNC based on each candidate's performance in that particular state's primary.
Yes. 19%No. 84%
Though there's been much talk lately about the problems the winner-take-all primary system has brought to the Republican Party, the poll response and the comments suggest that proportionality is still a good long-term policy. The problem with the proportional system's chronic trench warfare this year is that it prolongs the misery of a lackluster field. If we have a 2016 field of Republican idols like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, the proportional system will produce the blockbuster primary battle it was meant to.
Michael L. As a general rule, I think both parties are better served by a process that lasts awhile than by a process that allows a weak nominee to be picked after five or ten primaries and then implode in the general election (see, e.g., Kerry '04). Sometimes I even wonder whether we should go further and bring back the 2/3 rule (which, combined with proportional representation, would ensure that EVERY convention is a brokered convention!
heap: It isn't the length, it's the contenders. If the GOP had candidates that people had a hard time choosing between, the longer, harder fought primary process would have worked exactly as intended - it would have increased interest, and helped with the general election. What the GOP has now is a process that won't end and candidates hardly anybody actually wants. So...as to the future of the process, that depends. Is anybody planning on running a repeat of Milquetoast and the Crazies again? if so....yah, change back to WTA and get it over with quickly.