RNC, the Republican National Committee, is looking to shorten the 2016 president primary. After the consummation of its winter meeting, the GOP is looking to begin primary season later and end later to change the calendar it used in the 2012 elections. The official dates will be announced this spring and the location will be discussed during their summer meeting.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus stated that the party’s rules committee approved many significant rule changes. These changes are likely to be adopted Friday as they are voting with the full 168-member committee. These rules include a provision that all delegates must be selected 45 days prior to the national convention, up from 35 days. It also includes stricter penalties for states that hold primaries before March 15th. As well, only four states are allowed to hold primary election before March: Nevada, South Carolina, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Just 12 delegates will be awarded to states that violate this rule and will institute an even stricter number to states that have a smaller population. There is strong support among the RNC to penalize non-early states. States with less than 29 delegates would be allowed 7 delegates and states with over 30 allowed 12 delegates if convention voting rules are not followed.
Priebus stated that the principles of the party are sound. However, as the RNC looks to grow all ranks of the party at-large, leaders must be conscious in tone and use effective rhetoric to communicate policies effectively. Republican leaders in the earliest-voting states expressed a degree of confidence in that they will not be able to postpone voting until February of 2016, compared to January in the last cycle in 2012. During the 2012 elections, states that held voting in March awarded proportionally-based delegates to the candidate. Consequently, that extended the nomination battle into late April and exasperated Mitt Romney’s campaign. Therefore, rules were tweaked at the convention to allow for a “winner-take-all” system much like the Electoral College. In this system, RNC will allow states to award all delegates to whomever wins the election and shorten the 2016 presidential primary.
Republicans believe this decision is respectable because it would allow the nominee to legitimately coordinate with the RNC to expend campaign capital that is vital during the general election. Conversely, Democrats may decide to hold their pre-election convention before Labor Day. This would cause a slight voter awareness problem because Democrats would receive a week of uninterrupted media coverage for their convention closer to the general elections when many later-informed voters are paying attention.
The RNC will meet two more times this year and could mend the guidelines once more for 2016. The procedure rules used in nominating one for the party’s representation must be chosen by September. This will likely be discussed and analyzed in their meeting this summer. The stricter penalty was originally designed to prevent Florida from jumping the gun and filling the calendar in 2016. In 2012, Florida scheduled its convention for January 31st, creating frustration amongst those that run the RNC.
One of the party’s main goals in shortening the primary season was to limit the time in which the candidates debate against one another. RNC member from Georgia, Randy Evans said that crafting the new rules limits the time, “our candidates are slicing and dicing each other.” This was one of the main problems of the 2012 primary when multiple candidates were destroying each other’s character on stage in front of the nation. “The next nominee is going to thank us a great deal,” said Ron Kaufman, RNC committee member from Massachusetts. By doing this, Republicans believe a lesser number, but better candidates will be able to vie for the nation’s highest office due to the RNC shortening the 2016 presidential primary.
By: Alex Lemieux