Friday, March 23, 2007

Time for Primary Reform

This was bound to happen. For a long time we've have Iowa and New Hampshire leading the way with the primaries. After that was some other early states with some importance - South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, and sometimes Michigan. This did not set well with many states, especially California and Florida. Not surprisingly, state after state is frontloading their primaries to go around the same time as New Hampshire, with Nevada, Florida, and California leading the way. This is not good for the country as the nominee will be decided in February with the election in November. That means for 10 months, the nominees in both parties are going to beat the hell out of each other. That means we will have what amounts to a coronation due to early money, and that the media will have most of the power.

Now I do not support Iowa and New Hampshire leading the way each election. While both are pivotal states, not to mention that New Hampshire's politics (until recently) are generally not much different than my own, today's coronation of "winners" and the bandwagon solidifies most wins before it even starts. We are already hearing about "electable" candidates before we have had an election since people unfortunately listen to what the media says.

I have a proposal I'd like to see for the primary system. It's not perfect, but it is the best thing I can think of give or take a few changes in states. I'll call it a rotating regional primary system. This will end the frontloading, which I expect to go to all 50 states at one time if nothing is done.

Here's the proposal.

The first primary is for region 1 - 1st week of February. Another region has an election every two weeks. The drawbacks are larger states overshadowing smaller states, but there are enough difference within the states and regions to make things interesting with delegates. Candidates have shorter trips as well within the area near the primaries, resulting in less time on the plane/bus. Livingston County is only 3 hours from Cleveland and 4-6 hours from Chicago, South Bend, and Indianapolis depending on traffic if you change a few states in geographic regions. The regions I've placed are as follows. States can vary to some degree.

Northeast - Maine, Vermont, New Hampsire, Massachusetts, Connecticutt, Rhode Island - 6

Mid Atlantic - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware - 4 (10)

Mid South - Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, DC, South Carolina - 5 (15)

Deep South/Florida - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida - 5 (20)

Appalachia/Ozarks - West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma - 5 (25)

Southwest/Texas - Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada - 4 (29)

Pacific - California, Oregon, Washington St, Alaska, Hawaii (34)

Upper Rockies - Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming - 5 (39)

Upper Midwest - North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio - 6 (45)

Lower Midwest - Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana - 6 (51 - counting DC as a state for election purposes)

This is just an idea I'm tossing out there for discussion purposes, but I am concerned about primary frontloading, and don't see any real solutions in the future on this issue.

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