Thursday, January 25, 2007

Primary Fever

NYT - Big States’ Push for Earlier Vote Scrambles Race
As many as four big states — California, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey — are likely to move up their 2008 presidential primaries to early next February, further upending an already unsettled nominating process and forcing candidates of both parties to rethink their campaign strategies, party officials said Wednesday.
. . .
The developments mark the latest upheaval in a political calendar already in disarray. The Democratic Party voted last year to allow Nevada and South Carolina to move their nominating contests into the narrow period at the beginning of the process that once was confined to just Iowa’s caucus and New Hampshire’s primary.

The developments mark the latest upheaval in a political calendar already in disarray. The Democratic Party voted last year to allow Nevada and South Carolina to move their nominating contests into the narrow period at the beginning of the process that once was confined to just Iowa’s caucus and New Hampshire’s primary.
It has always seemed unfair to me that Iowa and New Hampshire had so much pull in the nominating process. The idea of adding a state from the South and a state from the West to the early process makes sense. I really don't feel like New Hampshire and Iowa are necessarily representative of the views of the nation as a whole. I do feel like smaller states need some advantage in the process or else they get almost completely ignored. It seems like a difficult balance to strike.

The New Hampshire reaction seems almost childish, however:
But New Hampshire officials, protective of their first-in-the-nation primary status, have responded by saying they will schedule their primary as early as it takes, even before Jan. 1, to protect its traditional role. And no one seems to know where the scramble for influence among the states will end.
Early primaries do have a major impact on later voters and everybody wants to have a chance at influencing that impact. As a voter in Alabama, I've always felt like my vote in the Presidential primary was meaningless. Now that Alabama has moved its primary forward I have felt like the change has improved our position and increased the attention we receive from candidates, so I can understand NH not wanting to loose that power. But just insisting on continuing to move theirs forward if other get too close could escalate into utter nonsense.

Another interesting part of this whole process for me, considering my current study of party politics and candidate selection processes, is the loss of power the party is experiencing:
The developments suggest that the national parties are losing any control they have had over the calendar by which they will nominate presidential candidates in 2008.
. . .
It has sowed unease and confusion among campaign staff members as they have tried to measure its implications, and has prompted them to begin making moves now to prepare for a whole different nominating system.
I wonder what that last comment could foreshadow.

Update: For more commentary on the unfairness of the current system check out what Steven Taylor has to say on the subject over at Poliblog.

2 comments:

Steven Taylor said...

US parties are pretty anemic as it is--which, in this case at least, is part of the problem.

Jan said...

I didn't say I found it surprising. I said I found it interesting.