Tags: GOP2016 | Hillary Clinton | GOP | convention | Romney | Bush

Blakeman to Newsmax: New GOP Strategy Key to Beating Hillary in 2016

By    |   Saturday, 17 January 2015 08:58 PM

The race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is off and running — and a streamlined process approved by party officials this week and a bevy of possible candidates give the GOP a good chance of taking the White House, former presidential adviser Bradley Blakeman told Newsmax.

"We're not going to have the situation that we had four years ago, or even eight years ago," Blakeman said Saturday, "when the process was dragged out and where there were too many opportunities for Republicans to gratuitously beat up on each other by having too many televised debates — and then having the convention so late."

Blakeman, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, praised Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for revamping the nomination process. Priebus was elected to a third two-year term at the party's winter meeting in California.

"The chairman was smart. He condensed the time of the primaries," he said. "He condensed the number of opportunities for debates. Then, he moved the convention, which will now allow us to gear up for the general.

"The RNC has done exactly what they need to do in order to have a fair and balanced process — and not have it so mismanaged and disorganized that it hurts your ability to get a good candidate who can win in the general election," he said.

Held in San Diego, the committee's three-day meeting included enacting recommendations from a report Priebus commissioned after the GOP's drubbing in the 2012 presidential election.

The document found that the arduous nomination process — including as many as nine candidates participating in 20 debates and a national convention held in August — hurt former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's efforts to block President Barack Obama from winning a second term.

Recommendations for greater community outreach and vast technological improvements were also detailed in the report.

Delegates in San Diego approved a shortened primary season that included nine scheduled debates, running from August through March, and a convention to be held July 18-21 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

The 2012 Republican National Convention was held Aug. 27-30 in Tampa. The report argued that an earlier date would better allow the eventual nominee to raise money earlier and campaign more effectively.

"We do have to make sure our process is sound and our debates are informative — and not a field day for the media," Preibus told delegates. "We do have to ensure the primary calendar makes sense and leaves us in a strong position. And we’ve done those things."

Blakeman said the new structure will prove most effective in determining the one candidate who will eventually represent the Republican Party in the general election in November 2016.

The primary season could involve as many as a dozen candidates spanning the Republican spectrum. The winner could face Democrat Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state has said she soon would announce her 2016 plans.

Romney and three other potential GOP candidates — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson — spoke at the winter meeting.

Others who had indicated that they might seek the nomination include Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

"You have to be selected by the party before you can be elected by the people," Blakeman told Newsmax. "The Republicans are being criticized by the Democrats, who are saying, 'You're going to have political infighting.' If you call the primary process unhealthy, you miss the importance of the process. It's a culling process.

"[It's] unlike the Democrats, who are basically telling Democrats: 'You don’t have a choice. It's going to be Hillary Clinton, accept her,' " he added. "I don't think that's very healthy at all."

The new process will also benefit the nominee.

"If you’re not able to get delegates and financing and organization, you’re going to fall by the wayside pretty quickly," Blakeman said. "While initially you may have more than two dozen, in short order, it's probably going to be whittled down to six.

"Because the primary system now has been condensed, it's going to be to the benefit of someone who has great organization, who is able to be financed, who is able to get their positions across.

"We're going to have a healthy primary system. We're going to get the best possible candidate," he told Newsmax. "While the Democrats are having a coronation, we're having a democratization of the party."

Regardless of who emerges, all facets of the Republican Party must rally behind that individual, Blakeman said.

"If we're able to coalesce sooner rather than later behind a candidate, that certainly benefits the party in not having us slog to the convention — like Hillary almost had with Obama in 2008.

"There's always that danger," he added. "I think that's been marginalized by good, smart planning by the RNC."

He likened the potential outcome of the 2016 race to the Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare."

"They think Hillary's the hare, but my money's on the tortoise."

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The race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is off and running - and a streamlined process approved by party officials this week and a bevy of possible candidates give the GOP a good chance of taking the White House, former presidential adviser Bradley Blakeman...
GOP, convention, Romney, Bush
Saturday, 17 January 2015 08:58 PM
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