As pointed out by Ms. Martin, Chris Beer has posted an article on why a convention is necessary for the Republican presidential nomination in Virginia in 2016. I disagree on all his major points: [read_more]
- He prefers a primary: I prefer a convention.
- He thinks VA presidential primary ballot access rules are too onerous: I think Virginia should vet weak or disorganized campaigns.
- He thinks a convention is necessary to allow voters to have variety; I think a convention is unnecessary to provide variety.
Read items one and three again.
I like Chris Beer. He and I agree on most things. Still, I have no idea why he is making excuses for potential 2016 nominees in advance. Everything stems from the fallout of the 2012 Presidential primary on the Republican side where two viable candidates as of December 2011 were excluded from the ballot, former Gov. Rick Perry and former speaker Newt Gingrich. Only two candidates made it on to the Virginia ballot former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Representative Ron Paul. Virginia conservatives were livid and made every accusation under the sun against Virginia’s ballot access system, against RPV, and against the Romney supporters. As I pointed out back in December 2011 the ballot access system for major party presidential primaries is somewhat convoluted. Nonetheless, the presidential campaigns had five months, starting July 1, 2011, to gather 10,000 valid signatures with at least 400 in each congressional district. This amount was not too onerous as pointed out back in 2011 (by my friend Brian S. – no endorsement implied):
. . . plenty of other candidates with fewer resources have made it onto the Virginia presidential primary ballot since the rules were loosened in 1999.
Here’s a quick list: 2008 – Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, John Edwards; Ron Paul, John McCain, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney.
2004 – Al Sharpton, John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Dick Gephardt, Lyndon Larouche.
2000 – Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, George W. Bush, John McCain, Steve Forbes.
Moreover, in the comments section of Mr. Beer’s post Greg Aldridge explained how his candidate, E.W. Jackson for Senate, obtained ballot access. Additionally TBE’s own Jamie Radtke ably did so that same year.
No mercy should be spared these candidates who couldn’t meet the same standards as Lyndon Larouche.
But the law has changed, doesn’t it make it less fair? NO The law has changed in a major way since late 2011/early 2012. The signature requirement has been reduced to half of the previous amount by bipartisan legislation in 2013. Candidates need merely obtain 5000 signatures and 200 from each Congressional District. Additionally the residency requirement for signature gatherers was thrown into serious doubt by two Supreme Court decisions in 2011 analyzing Colorado law.
In short, primary ballot access in Virginia was not that difficult in 2011/2012, it has been made easier, and holding a primary should not restrict viable options for Republican voters. Whether we should have a convention is an entirely different question.