Sunday, February 04, 2007

An Early, Expensive, and National Presidential Primary?

An "alternative" news site in California has a good overview of the effect of front-loading primaries. Several states, including California, are seeking to move their primaries so early that there will in effect be one giant ultra-expensive national primary nine months before the general election.

The problem isn’t that Iowa and New Hampshire go first – it’s that so many states follow them right afterwards. If an insurgent wins one of the early states, they simply get overwhelmed later due to lack of resources. If an establishment type wins an early state, the insurgents have no chance later on because it gives the front-runner an insurmountable lead. Either way, the establishment candidate always wins.


A front-loaded primary season effectively ends the nomination process in early February...

It didn’t use to be that way. In 1992, the primary schedule was more drawn out and allowed more states to have a say in the Democratic nomination. After Tom Harkin won the Iowa caucus on February 10th, Paul Tsongas won the New Hampshire primary on February 18th. Bob Kerrey won South Dakota on February 25th and Jerry Brown won Colorado on March 3rd. Bill Clinton started racking up victories in the coming weeks, but on March 24th Brown stalled his momentum by winning Connecticut. Finally, Clinton sewed up the nomination on April 7th with the New York primary.

So instead of fixing the runaway primary system that produced John Kerry, they're going to make it worse... and then we'll have to wait seven months for the candidates that won New Hampshire to be formally nominated.

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