Possible Changes in Existing System
There are several possible avenues of change in the primary process, most of which seek to address the frontloading issue.
The Rules and Bylaws Committee came forth with a rather timid proposal, recommending against a major overhaul of the primary system. Instead, it favored negotiations with the RNC to ensure that the two parties' windows will coincide. Members of the committee were concerned about the unintended consequences a radical change might entail and opted to "do no harm." If successful, the modest bipartisan fix would resolve the situations faced by the handful of Democratic state parties mentioned above, but would not directly address frontloading pressure or the broader question of low turnout. Indeed, one member of the committee stated, "We've basically codified the status quo...It's deja vu all over again."
Republicans--In summer 1999 RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson appointed an Advisory Commission on Presidential Nominating Process chaired by former Sen. Bill Brock. The group held its first meeting on August 17, 1999 and released its final report on May 2, 2000.
The Brock commission recommended the Delaware Plan or inverted pyramid plan, wherein the states would be divided by population into four groups; the smallest population states would go first, followed by the next group and so forth, finally finishing with the largest states. This approach places a premium on retail politics. The commission further recommended an end to winner-take-all primaries in favor of proportional allocation of delegates. Other proposals were put forth by Ohio Republican Party chairman Bob Bennett--the Ohio Plan--and by Sen. Bob Smith (June 2000).
However, the Brock commission's Delaware Plan was defeated by a 66 to 33 vote in the RNC Rules Committee meeting held in late July in advance of the 2000 Republican National Convention. (It would have also required approval of the full convention and cooperation of the states to take effect).