Over the years, state political parties have competed to see which state can have the earliest presidential nomination caucuses and conventions, hoping that by offering early contests, they can attract media attention and money from presidential hopefuls. The consequence of the jockeying has been that the presidential primaries and caucuses have come earlier and earlier over time.
Texas is part of a pack of “Super Tuesday” states that conduct their primaries on the first Tuesday in March, but considerable legislative effort had been devoted to moving the presidential primaries to February or January. But as reported recently in the New York Times, the national GOP party leadership has put the kibosh on such leapfrogging.
Frankly, efforts to enhance the power of any particular state party to influence the presidential nominations are almost always self-defeating, so it’s a pleasure to see a national party enforcing some order over the state nominating process. The party’s modest reforms are cautious, so as not to antagonize the New Hampshire and Iowa Republicans who treat their early caucuses as sacred, but at least go some way toward ending the unseemly scramble to nominate a candidate as early as possible.
The other part of the reform is setting an earlier date for the national convention, moving the convention to late June or early July instead of early September. In Texas, at least, this should solve a logistical problem – until recently, state law set a deadline for certification of the candidates (for ballot production purposes) that fell prior to the dates of the national conventions – now it looks like that won’t be a problem.