DNC Working On Changes to 2012 Presidential Nominating Calendar
by Todd Beeton, Tue Mar 24, 2009 at 09:54:59 AM EDT
Tim Kaine yesterday announced the formation of a new commission to change the process by which the Democratic presidential nominee is chosen.
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina will lead the Democratic Change Commission, which is scheduled to report its findings no later than Jan. 1, 2010. The commission, which is largely comprised of Democrats who supported Mr. Obama (and a few who backed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in last year's contentious primary season), will review and streamline the 2008 calendar.
"This commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process," Mr. Kaine said in a statement, "to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate."
An ironic statement perhaps considering how many people voted in the primary last year; lack of participation was not the problem, although I suppose that's probably a reference to making sure we don't have another Florida or Michigan situation in the future. To do that, they're going to have to somehow deal with Michigan's desire to break the first in the nation stranglehold Iowa and New Hampshire have on the process. All 4 of the first in the nation states are represented on the commission.
Tim Kaine's rather vague goals for improving the system include:
...changing the window for primaries and caucuses, reducing the number of superdelegates and improving the caucus system.
Next time, party leaders say, the primaries and caucuses will start no sooner than Feb. 1, which is a month later than the 2008 race.
While last year's nominating process demonstrated that having an earlier primary does not necessarily mean having the most influential one, states also saw unprecedented benefits of having a contested primary, so it's hard to see states volunteering for later and, hence, more likely uncontested primaries. But glad to see the DNC embarking on reform of a system that badly needs it.