What was the worst moment of the 2012 presidential race? Was it Donald Trump’s slow-motion striptease about entering the contest? Michele Bachmann’s invocation of “government needles” being “pushed into innocent girls”? Was it Newt Gingrich’s promise to fund “American” lunar settlements by 2020 (I called them “Newtist colonies on the moon”)? Obama’s Joe Soptic commercial accusing Romney of causing a woman to die of cancer? Romney’s 47 percent comment revealed? Perry’s brain freeze? Joe Biden’s warning to a black audience that Republicans want to “put y’all back in chains”? Or his foaming-at-the-mouth debate performance?
Feeling inspired at the pageant of American presidential politics? The question some Republicans and conservatives are asking is whether there is a way to avoid these banana-peel slips next time. Democrats have made their share of embarrassing mistakes, too (as partially noted above), but the dismaying reality is that Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential contests. Some, including RNC chief Reince Priebus, are seeking structural fixes. Does the prolonged fundraising and primary process cause us to wind up with second-rate candidates who don’t represent the Republican grass roots very well and who cannot win general elections?
Jeffrey H. Anderson and Jay Cost believe so. Writing in the summer issue of National Affairs, they argue that the current primary system arose by “accident and afterthought.” . . . To continue reading this piece, click here.