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!
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 Carson. 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 WarrenPoll: Clinton up 9 on Trump in NH The Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE of Massachusetts, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders warns Clinton: Don't rush to compromise with GOP Dem senator praises US steel after car crash Lobbying World MORE of Ohio, Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineThe Trail 2016: Comeback in the works? Sanders to Justice Department: Block AT&T purchase of Time Warner Kaine talks with rapper Pusha T on the campaign trail MORE of Virginia or Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs EpiPen maker to pay 5M to settle overcharging case 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.