WASHINGTON (CNN) – It may be the last thing anyone wants to talk about, thanks to lasting memories from the very long, historic and contentious 2008 presidential campaign, but committees from both the Democratic and Republican parties already looking into revamping the way they pick their presidential nominees.
2012 may be years away, but the Democratic National Committee's Democratic Change Commission holds its first meeting this Saturday. The commission's looking at three issues that dogged last year's marathon primary battle between then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Their goals: changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held, reducing the number of unpledged delegates, and improving the caucus system.
A number of states moved up their contest dates and two of them, Florida and Michigan, were penalized by the national parties. There was also a controversy over the clout of superdelegates in the Democratic nomination battle between Obama and Clinton. Obama won a majority of pledged delegates, but needed the support of superdelegates to clinch the nomination. Superdelegates are party officials, members of Congress and state office holders. They are unpledged delegates who are free to support the candidate of their choice
Work on the Republican side is already underway. The Republican National Committee's primary committee met on Monday, beginning a fact-finding process that could result in some alterations to the primary calendar in the next presidential campaign.
Democrats have always been able to make changes to party rules between conventions, a luxury now afforded to Republicans, thanks to a rule change that was approved at last year's Republican Party convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Among the issues the Republicans are dealing with is the front-loading of the primary calendar. Between the two parties, contests were held in 24 states on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008.