By Chuck Muth
Nevada Republicans blew it…big time.
As such, the state became a national embarrassment – and not just among members of the media – thanks to royally screwing up this month’s GOP presidential caucus. In fact, some have suggested (kiddingly…I think) sending in international monitors for future caucuses. And no matter how often Nevada Republican National Committeeman Bob List does his “Baghdad Bob” imitation, this caucus was a disaster.
Not a crisis, mind you. A disaster.
Yet many are treating the major league SNAFU as a crisis demanding immediate government intervention – which *should* cause an automatic, knee-jerk recoil by conservatives and Republicans. But it’s not. Which means the GOP could soon be adding insult to injury.
The “cure” being proposed by many – including the media – for the Clark County GOP’s agonizing failure to count ballots and report totals in a timely fashion, is to dump Nevada’s presidential caucus system and hold a primary instead. Well, boys and girls…be careful what you wish for.
A primary (estimated cost: $1 million) would be paid for by the taxpayers – not the party, and not the candidates. As such, there will be tremendous pressure to allow non-Republicans to vote in it. Which means a lot of people with no real philosophical belief system – including many who are downright ill-informed and ignorant – will be helping to choose the party’s nominee.
What could go wrong with that, right?
Seriously, why in the world should Republican Central Committee members, foot soldiers and conservative activists – who spend a lot of time and effort getting to know the issues and the candidates – encourage independents and “fair weather” Republicans to come out and vote in a slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am primary rather than a caucus?
Oh, and by the way: To legislatively switch from the caucus system to a primary, both major parties are going to have to agree. And you know the Democrats are going to INSIST on allowing same-day registration. Any bets on how the spines-of-jello Republicans in the Legislature will vote on THAT? Do Republicans really want to re-open that can of worms?
In addition, a primary means candidates will have to spend more money on mass media – which gives a significant advantage to monied special interests and candidates anointed by the establishment, while virtually wiping out the importance of dedicated, highly-informed and deeply-involved caucus-going Republicans.
Indeed, a primary means candidates will rely on TV and radio advertising rather than, you know, actually campaigning face-to-face with voters identified as likely to participate in a caucus.
If the Nevada GOP wants to get serious about becoming an effective political organization, the answer is to master the current system, not turn it over to the government. So let it be written; so let it be done.