The presidential primary process is flawed and needs to be fixed, the Democratic National Committee says. A committee has issued recommendations that de-emphasize the importance given to early contests like Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and the outsized influence of the superdelegates.
These problems clearly manifested themselves in the 2008 election. As states jockey for position, the primary season has been steadily extended -- the 2008 Iowa caucuses took place on January 3, two weeks earlier than in 2004 -- and Michigan and Florida touched off a heated fight within the Democratic party by moving up their primaries.
As House Majority Whip James Clyburn told CNN: "We need to improve a little bit in spite of the fact that we got a great candidate out of the process. It was not very comfortable at various points along the way."
The consequences could have been catastrophic for the Democrats, Chris Good writes at The Atlantic:
If Obama hadn't won the states as convincingly, the story of 2008 for Democrats would be a failed and disastrous nominating process that allowed elite members of the party to choose a candidate, leaving the party torn between Obama-ites and the once-prominent PUMAs, the Clinton folk who didn't much care for the other team, or the way things had played out with the selection process.
Now, with Obama expected to seek a second term in 2012, the DNC is looking to revise the nomination process for 2016. According to its recommendations, the early states would keep their pride of place, but the caucuses and primaries would not be allowed to begin until February. The DNC also recommended grouping states by "region or sub-region" and giving perks to states that abide by the schedule at the national convention. The DNC is also looking at ways to reduce the number of superdelegates.