Candidates, why the rush to drop out?
© Getty Images

Let me start by pointing out the obvious. To be nominated by the Democratic Party for president, you need to get 2,382 delegates. To be nominated by the Republican Party, you need to get 1,237 delegates. This will not change!

ADVERTISEMENT
I bring this up because I firmly believe that the nominating process for both parties is fundamentally flawed. Right now, if you lose one caucus or one primary, you are considered by the media as permanently damaged goods. (Anybody but Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas MORE, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJuan Williams: Trump gives life to the left Kennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive Pompeo to outline post-deal strategy on Iran MORE, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton backs Georgia governor hopeful on eve of primary Pressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Press: Why Trump should thank FBI MORE or Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersClinton backs Georgia governor hopeful on eve of primary The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Frenzy over Kennedy retirement rumors | Trump challenges DOJ Bernie Sanders announces Senate reelection bid MORE). Right now, if you exceed expectations (Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio: Kaepernick deserves to be in the NFL Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Anti-Maduro Venezuelans not unlike anti-Castro Cubans of yore MORE, Ohio Gov. John Kasich), you are on the rise and a sudden contender. It should not be that way and it doesn't have to be that way.

Let me make once again a college basketball comparison. The college basketball season is a long one. The 351 Division I teams play about 30 regular season games. Then they all (with the exception of the Ivy Leagues) participate in a postseason conference tournament. Then, if they are one of the 68 teams that make the cut into March Madness, they can play up to six more games (seven if they are one of the "play-in" teams).

The national champion who will be crowned in the first week of April will have played more than 40 games. It's not over in an instant. One or two or a whole bunch of bad games won't eliminate you from getting into the coveted tournament. But in this crazed political setup, a few bad losses eliminates you from staying in the game and going to the convention and competing.

I'll be more specific. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent more time in New Hampshire than any of the other Republican candidates. He finished a "distant sixth." He has decided based on that one experience to "take a breath" and suspend his campaign. Whatever I think of Christie and his views, I urge him to stay in there.

The same goes for Kasich, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Rubio; even dreadful Carly Fiorina (who has since also dropped out) and uninformed Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD pulls tool used to identify segregation in communities Building ladders of opportunity through a better deal for American families HUD’s proposed changes create hurdles not ladders MORE. They should not allow the media to push them out just because of a few bad showings. If their candidacies have merit and substance, they should have enough confidence to continue and fight on. If they believe in themselves and the issues they are raising, they should seek to get an audience for those views.

The nominating season is not just to achieve instant glory and success, but to educate and inform, convert and convince. I just can't stand the idea that a few early wins by Trump or Cruz finishes off the rest of the field. There are later primaries where some of the candidates can do well and even win, but we and they will never know if they drop out.

As for the Democrats, why can't others drop in? For instance, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Trump gives life to the left Elizabeth Warren urges grads to fight for 'what is decent' in current political climate Tomi Lahren responds to genealogist's investigation of her family: 'She failed miserably' MORE of Massachusetts, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Facebook, Google struggle to block terrorist content | Cambridge Analytica declares bankruptcy in US | Company exposed phone location data | Apple starts paying back taxes to Ireland Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Senate Dems call for probe into why Trump has not issued Russia sanctions MORE of Ohio, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDefense bill moves forward with lawmakers thinking about McCain Kim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays Singer Jason Mraz: Too much political 'combat' in Washington MORE of Virginia or Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers target Chinese tech giants | Dems move to save top cyber post | Trump gets a new CIA chief | Ryan delays election security briefing | Twitter CEO meets lawmakers Twitter CEO meets with lawmakers to talk net neutrality, privacy MORE of Minnesota. Both conventions are in July. There's plenty of time for them to mount a campaign and make their case and let the delegates look them over and make a reasoned judgment. What's the hurry? We are nominating someone to be president.

Call me naive, unsophisticated, unrealistic. I would love to see an open convention where men and women of independent minds and hearts examine the candidates and their views and then make a sound decision. It doesn't have to be on the first ballot, either. The general election follows in November. Why does everything have to be settled so fast? Life doesn't work that way. Why does picking a president have to be any different?

This whole process is not supposed to be just for the convenience and benefit of the candidates, the Republicans and the Democrats, and the networks. No, it's supposed to be for the people of America. Let's for once try it another way. It very well might produce far better candidates and, in the end, a better president.

Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.