The “Ohio” Plan

National Primary Voting -- Power Struggle - Bowling for Primaries - Many Primary Ideas - No Good Delegate Answer for DNC - The “Ohio” Plan

With many people arguing that the primary election system needs to change there have been a variety of suggestions made. The “Ohio” plan, being considered by the Republican Party, is that first one officially being considered by either of the major parties (first so far as I am aware). The plan incorporates some of the basic ideas of the Rotating Regionals idea that was being promoted by the National Association of Secretaries of State. Essentially the plan would preserve the first 4 states position in the front of the calendar (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina). Then, at three week intervals there would be a group of small states (total of 50 electoral votes between them) and then three vaguely regional clusters of states would rotate in the next three primary dates. The three “regional” groups are

    • Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, Utah, and Washington
    • Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia
    • Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania
    • Leaving the small states group as -Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and non states like D.C. and Guam

The process would take 3 months.

Now I am looking for answers to two questions:

  1. Is this a good way to organize the primary process (should the Democratic Party consider a similar approach when they finally conclude their primary this year)?
  2. Is it better to proceed with this plan that seems politically feasible rather than continue the search for a more perfect approach?

    About David

    David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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    4 Responses to The “Ohio” Plan

    1. Reach Upward says:

      Politics is all about compromise. There will never be a perfect plan because there is no broad agreement on the definition of perfect. I hate the idea that four states get some kind of permanent pre-eminence over the rest of the states. But realities are realities.

      Each state would have to buy into any plan because primary dates are ultimately set by each state. The RNC and DNC found that their power to make states toe the line is limited. We need more sanity in our primary process than we have today. Will enough people think the Ohio plan achieves that goal to make it reality? I don’t know the answer to that.

    2. David says:

      Permanent is all about perspective. Just because we allows those four to remain at the front now does not mean that never in the future will other states rebel against that idea and succeed in leapfrogging them.

      One interesting thing about the power that the parties do or don’t have is that the states may set the dates, but the parties assign the delegates. Both parties have set precedents now for what they will do when states step out of line. The Republican party will probably cut the delegate allotment in half for wayward states. The Democratic party will probably do nothing (unless they choose to copy the GOP) since they are now seeking the best way to seat the delegates they stripped from Florida (and presumably Michigan).

      You have made your uncertainty clear, Reach, but do you think the Ohio plan offers any improvements, or does it offer the same level of dysfunction as our current system? (in your opinion)

    3. Reach Upward says:

      Wikipedia lists a number of primary election reform proposals at this link: . The writer of the article clearly favors the balanced primary system, as it appears to avoid some of the known pitfalls of the other systems.

      The blocks of states in the Ohio plan might be too large to allow lesser known (lesser funded) candidates from having a chance at gaining traction, and would require a lot of travel in a very short period of time. I also kind of like the concept in the balanced primary system that would pair liberal and conservative states for votes on the same date.

      None of the plans address the issue of awarding delegates proportionately vs. winner-take-all. Different states (and different parties in the states) do it differently. The only reason the Democrats are in the situation they are in today is because most of their delegates are awarded proportionately. The only reason John McCain sewed up the GOP nomination so early was that most of its delegates are winner-take-all by state. There are pros and cons to both methods. Are we going to let state parties continue to determine how this is done, or is there going to be some kind of national consensus on it?

    4. David says:

      Thanks for the link. I will have to look into the balanced primary system. As for how delegates are awarded – though I have not decided exactly how important that is, I believe that the National Democratic party mandates that the state Democratic parties award their delegates in a proportional fashion.

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