Another intriguing alternative to the present system of nominating presidential candidates is the national preprimary convention plan. Developed by political scientists Thomas E. Cronin and Robert Loevy, the national preprimary convention plan endeavors to combine the merits of both a national convention and a national primary. The authors have a twinfold purpose in mind: to help rebuild the political parties and to give party leaders and the party organization a greater role in the nominating process. 1
Under this proposed plan the present mixed system of thirty-nine primaries and eleven caucus-convention states would be replaced by a national caucus and convention system in all fifty states. Nationwide caucuses would be followed by a national nominating convention, which in turn would be followed by a national Republican presidential primary and a national Democratic presidential primary. Both of these primaries would be held on the same day in early September. The plan is patterned after a nominating system that has been used in Colorado since 1910.
Instead of the present system of primaries and caucuses before the national convention, the national preprimary convention plan would reverse the nominating schedule and start with nationwide party caucuses at the precinct level on the first Monday in May of the presidential year. Any citizen would be eligible to attend a precinct caucus, but in order to vote, the citizen would have to register at that caucus as a member of that political party. Only those registered party voters could by national law vote in that particular party's national primary in September.
The general timetable for the Cronin-Loevy plan would read as follows: