The Republican party is on the brink of dealing a major blow to Iowa's traditional caucus system, with the process' critics pointing to recent battles over military voting rights to make the case for ending traditional nominating contest.
Chris Brown, Chairman of the Young Republican Federation of Alabama and a member of the Republican Convention's Rules Committee, is expected introduce a measure tomorrow requiring states to use "every means practicable" to ensure that military voters can cast ballots in any process used in the Republican presidential nominating process, according to a person involved in the effort. The measure will be seconded by influential Ohio GOP chair Bob Bennett, who has been a member of the RNC for more than two decades, the source said.
Caucuses — by definition in-person voting systems — would not satisfy the proposed rule, requiring dramatic changes to the process in Iowa and other caucus states, if not their outright abandonment.Leave aside the argument about whether a primary is "better." And leave aside the argument about whether we should be first. The political reality is: First is important to Iowa. We can have a primary or we can be first. Not both. The number one job of any Iowa chair of either party is staying first. It's not a Democrat vs. Republican thing; it's an IOWA thing. It's a job Matt Strawn and Sue Dvorsky did well.
Here's the wording:
Proposed Change to Rule 15(c)7Note "delegate selection" as opposed to voting for a candidate.
Any process authorized or implemented by a state Republican Party for selecting delegates and alternate delegates or for binding the presidential preference of such delegates shall use every means practicable to guarantee the right of active duty military personnel, and individuals unable to attend meetings due to injuries suffered in military service the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in that process.
So A.J. Spiker, and the Ron Paul-dominated Iowa delegation, needs to make a fast pivot away from getting Paul delegates from Maine seated and get their eyes on the prize of First. And they have to do it, frankly, on our weakest point.
We need a system that allows just enough room for the truly absent to vote, to address the very legitimate military/disability, without turning the community meeting caucuses into a year long absentee drive or anything that New Hampshire will call a "primary" in competition with their own. And we need to come up with it, like, this weekend, and convince a skeptical Republican convention that they can pull it off.
And for once I'm rooting for them.