March 12, 2007

Ominous development for Iowa, New Hampshire and us

This article in the New York Times discusses the possibility of a 20-state primary on February 5th. Typically, Nevada barely gets a mention.

The changes are forcing candidates to decide whether Iowa and New Hampshire, two states with contests before Feb. 5, will become more influential as contenders look for early victories to give them momentum. And with as many as 23 states voting on a single day — more states than are typically considered competitive in a general election — candidates must decide which ones to ignore, given the demands on their time and bank accounts.
What really ticks me off is that if Iowa and New Hampshire hadn't been so adamant about their "first in the nation" status, we might have seen some real primary schedule reform instead of this nibbling around the edges tactic taken by the DNC.

My personal preference, and just about anyone that has discussed this with me knows, would have been to hold regional contests. My idea (though I am not the only one who has suggested this): Cut the U.S. into four or five geographical regions, being careful to include small and large states in each area, and then hold the primaries (or caucuses) in that region on one day. A month later hold them in the next region, then a month later in the next, and so forth. At the next presidential primary season, the region that went first moves to the back of the line and #2 region goes first, #3 moves to second place and so on.

This would have the benefit of allowing candidates to concentrate in one area at a time instead of flying all over the country, and to focus on issues that are important in those areas. It would stretch the season out a bit and give all voters a say in the nominating process.

This mega-Tuesday approach will benefit big money candidates and large states. The losers? The voters and small states. Voters will lose because the primary could literally be over before the snow has even melted on Peavine. Not only will small states lose, but the rural areas of those small states will probably never have an opportunity to see a candidate, because if you are a candidate campaigning in a state with a small number of delegates like Nevada, where are you going to campaign in that state? It ain't gonna be Ely.

But those small states holding early caucuses and primaries could be hurt even worse. If they are considered non-essential at first, a split amongst the top three candidates on mega-Tuesday could really bring those states holding later primaries into play.
Aides to the candidates said they were debating whether the changes would mean that the nominations would effectively be settled on Feb. 5, by which point easily 50 percent of the delegates are likely to have been chosen, or whether a few strong candidates would divide the Feb. 5 take, forcing the campaign to stretch on for months. That could, oddly enough, make those fewer states sticking to later primaries vital players in the election cycle.
Just watching and waiting to see how this all shakes out.

1 comment:

Not Your Mama said...

Could also very well cost us the '08 election. If the states that don't get a voice in the process do not cotton to the winner...they'll be voting red come election day.