One of the delegation candidates running who happens to be endorsed and is not some rabble-rousing manufacturer of nuisance like myself asked me “Dysfunctional system? Of course. I’d be curious about your remedies.”
First, it may be news to people who run the Pennsylvania GOP, but pretty much all the delegation candidates with whom I have spoken agree our primary system is broken and wish it would be reformed. As such, my notion of a protest vote is, by definition, not radical or contrary to the will GOP members. Nor is it contrary to the will of their constituents, at least as far as we can tell.
Seems to me the best idea is the rotating regional primary. A national primary day would be an improvement, but it would be nice to maintain the ability for a less wealthy candidate to slowly build momentum. A regional primary might preserve that.
See the Wikipedia entry for regional primaries:
Furthermore, I would make delegational appointments proportional, and still maintain a small pool of unpledged delegates who would decide the race in cases of very, very close races. The ratio currently in the Democrat party seems high.
For a variety of reasons the national parties aren’t all that warm to the idea. I think it mostly has to do with a reluctance to “learn” a new system, and also the fact that some political perquisites are currently distributed with the current system. Also, the way the system currently runs has put those very beneficiaries in the position of determining if reform is necessary.
In order to draw attention to this need for reform, I plan to lobby delegates from Pennsylvania to formally abstain. This has three major benefits:
1) While abstaining the delegation can express full-throated moral support for the presumptive nominee, so party unity is preserved. Personally, I don’t think unity in this context matters a whit. Some people of good conscience think it does, though, so the charitable thing to do is to find a way to accommodate them.
2) The threat of a protest may actually force people to listen to our delegation in less sexy convention procedures, like the platform ratification. Some of those less sexy rituals may actually end up having something to do with election reform.
3) By abstaining on the floor the whole nation would briefly be forced to consider this issue. As reform is necessary on a national level, this is critically important on a PR level. Nothing will ever happen unless those responsible for keeping it the way it is have a bright light pointed at them.
That’s the gist of what I’m doing here, at least on the GOP end. If the state folks don’t get back to me soon, I am going to have to start freelancing again. I’d rather not. I’m as lazy as the next guy, and would love their help.