"They just ignore us,” [Oklahoma state GOP Vice Chairman, Cheryl Williams] said. "With the caucus system, as has been proven with other states, we actually would gain some pre-eminence back in the party.”I'll get back to that gem in a minute [because the logic there is puzzling to say the least]. But first the story.
The Oklahoma state Republican Party is meeting
But why a caucus over a primary? And where, pray tell, does this idea that caucuses provide a state with a more advantageous position when compared with primaries. I've got to say that the political science literature does not back up that assertion (Gurian 1986, 1993). Granted, these perhaps should be updated, but the anecdotal evidence since that point tells a completely difference tale than the yarn Cheryl Williams is weaving. Sure, the Obama campaign was able to exploit the caucus rules to win the Democratic nomination, but that didn't give those states any more a significant position at the time. Ex post facto, yes, but not at the time. And it didn't really translate into any general election success either. Obama won an overwhelming majority of caucus states in the Democratic race (see Democratic map here), but that may [MAY] have only helped him in Colorado. But even that is a stretch. The president did fare better than his immediate Democratic predecessor in many of those caucus states, but Obama was doing better than Kerry across much of the country (ironically, though, not in Oklahoma).
I can only think of one reasonable explanation here. The faction within the Oklahoma GOP supporting the caucus move wants to cut ties with the date setting part of the Oklahoma state law concerning presidential primaries. In other words, here's the thought process: the state law says we get to go on the first Tuesday in February, and the national party says we can't go before then. Well, why not hold a caucus and challenge the pre-eminence of Iowa/New Hampshire? Yeah, this feels like a rogue move, and the fact that Ron Paul supporter are pushing it isn't helping that perception. But that's perhaps being unnecessarily harsh on the Texas congressman and his supporters. The Maryland GOP is still looking into holding a pre-primary caucus that would allocate a portion of the state's GOP delegates and would also jump the first in the nation caucus and primary.
Moves like these, if they come to pass, are of a type that are really going to put the onus on the parties to fix the primary problem. But this is a different challenge than Florida/Michigan. This isn't state governments challenging national party rules, but state parties challenging their national counterparts' rules. And that's entirely different kind of flying altogether.
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