Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dems thinking about abandoning Iowa and New Hampshire

Yahoo! News reported Ten states asked the Democratic National Committee on Thursday to let them hold early presidential nominating contests in 2008, promising to bring more racial and geographic diversity to the process of choosing a candidate. They made their case to a DNC panel that will choose at least two states to join the traditional presidential kingmakers, Iowa and New Hampshire, in holding early nominating contests in the next White House race. The panel, responding to complaints that the white, rural residents of Iowa and New Hampshire were not representative of the country's diversity, approved a plan last month to add new state contests early in the calendar.

The candidates would prefer a national primary, so they could just specialize in the large media market states, but that would give the little states no influence. But why just IA and NH. Why not rotate among all of the small states and have different ones each year.
All of the states stressed their racial, ethnic and economic diversity and said they would offer Democratic presidential candidates an opportunity to craft and test-drive a message that would help them appeal to the entire country.

Betsy Newmark blogged New Hampshire is all ticked off and is threatening to move their primary up so that they can preserved their primacy.
If everyone keeps moving ahead of everyone else, the primaries will be so much ahead of the election that candidates will have to start all over again as election time comes.
All this tinkering around and adding more front-loading to the calendar means that candidates with big moneyboxes will have even more strength. It takes a wealthy candidate to compete successfully and completely in states as far apart and disparate as these in a crowded schedule where these contests are scheduled so close together. This exacerbates all the problems we have now with the system as it is.

I would much prefer scrapping this entire calendar. Set up regional primaries and rotate the order of the contests each election cycle. I'm not fond of Iowa and NH having such disproportionate influence in picking the nominees. Living in North Carolina, which has a late primary, I'm sick of the decisions being already made months before the candidates reach our state. Don't tinker around the edges of the present system but throw it out and start from scratch.
I agree completely. And once you have set up a rotation order, don't let the parties tinker with it to help one candidate or another.

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