A Worrisome Scheme
Hotline On Call reported yesterday on a troublesome trend in some states which could have a major impact on how the next Republican presidential nominee is chosen. In several key states, so-called "conservative activists" are working to gain control of the state Republican committees in order to push for switching from primary elections to caucuses for choosing delegates to the national nominating conventions? Why would they do this? Hotline: "Caucuses favor organized interests. Primaries dilute them. (Soccer moms don't vote in caucuses. [Ne]ither do investment bankers. Moral conservatives usually do.)"
Particularly in Washington, California, and Oregon, the report suggests, National Federation of Republican Assembly members (yes, they're the group that sponsors a "RINO Hunters Club", which you can join for $360 to "help the NFRA root out and hunt down RINO's.") have been slowly increasing their membership on the state organizing committees for the last several years. Hotline quotes Bob Novak on this: "So far, it has gone largely under the radar. CRAs hope they will increase their ranks to as many as 600 members on the 1,500 member committee from the current 400 or so. Although it would deny them an outright majority of members, this would give them a working majority on the committee, where several non-members are sympathetic to their positions."
In Washington state, the NFRA folks have been "rebuffed" from controlling a majority on the state committee ... as Hotline notes, "for now." In other states, efforts are moving ahead, apparently with the "tacit encouragement" of certain presidential hopefuls, including Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback.
Switching from primaries to caucuses would be an utter disaster for centrist hopes in the Republican party. The fact that Iowa has so much power as a caucus is bad enough, but to have the delegate-selection process in California controlled by caucus-goers would be utterly ruinous for candidates claiming the middle ground. It's a bad, backwards-thinking idea, and it should be fought at every turn, in every state. Hotline quotes one "conservative activist involved in the effort" as saying "The conservative movement has had a 30-year strategy of rule changes that no one understands but [about] 5 people." Let's turn that 5 into 5,000 and stop them in their tracks.