Caucus versus primary |

Caucus versus primary

Experience with a caucus rarely increases people’s attachment to it. Generally it has the exact opposite effect.

The petitions seeking a presidential primary in Nevada filled with signatures at polling locations were an indication that voters want another way to conduct the selection process.

There are good arguments for a primary election. For one thing, turnout for a primary, no matter how dismal, is far better than that for a caucus. Republican officials planned for 25 percent turnout at Saturday’s caucus. They got half. The reality is that if turnout was higher than 50 percent, the meeting locations would be overwhelmed.

A presidential primary would be conducted by the state, and that carries both good and bad. Counting results would be easier, but everyone would bear the cost of the election, instead of the major parties.

The last time Nevadans held a presidential preference primary was May 27, 1980. The date alone brings up the major issue with a presidential primary.

Those seeking a primary have three options: either add an election like we did in 1976 and 1980, move the regular primary up to February and let the campaign for the general election go on for nine months, or hold the presidential primary in June, which will be too late to have any say in the nominee.

The real reason no one has succeeded in pushing a presidential primary is that it’s often a long time between caucuses. If Republicans are successful in November, they probably won’t see another caucus until 2020. Democrats will caucus in 2016, after an eight-year break, no matter what happens in November.