Friday, August 31, 2007
Primary Election Dates Out-of-Control
Iowa and New Hampshire (and Wyoming Republicans), right or wrong (mostly wrong) have been the states that conducted the nation's first presidential primaries or caucuses. We now have Florida hoping to move to a late-January Democrat primary and Michigan who has moved to a mid-January primary election.
Back in June, I wrote on this topic. Given the selfish desires of some of the more important states hoping to trump the less important states, the two major political parties need to address this sooner as opposed to later.
History has shown -- part of the reason states desire to move up their primaries -- that after a few primaries, the party nominations are all but determined. The average American wakes up and says, "since when did we pick that person to be our party's presidential candidate?"
Consider the following: 1) The average American has no real interest in or knowledge of politics. 2) The average American voter has no real interest in an election years away (the media started this 2008 campaign in 2006.) 3) Who wants to study the candidates for an election ten months away (which will be the case in Michigan). 4) Who's to stop states from moving to December, November, October, etc. for their caucus or primary? Do you think Iowa or New Hampshire is going to "let is slide?"
I do like the so-called The American Plan (or the California Plan) for presidential primaries. Create a schedule that consists of 10 two-week intervals, during which randomly selected states may hold their primaries or caucuses, with a gradual increase in the total population of states and territories holding primaries/caucuses. This 20-week schedule is weighted based on each state's number of congressional districts. American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, which also send delegates to both national conventions, are each counted as one district in this system.
The American Plan seems to be fairer over time as it would give all states an equally influential role over time. The current system of Iowa/New Hampshire is weak; allowing other states to move ahead is even weaker.