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Primary calendar hurts democracy in America
Submitted by Kevin Wuzzardo on Fri, 08/10/2007 - 8:54am.
Yesterday Republican leaders from South Carolina held a news conference in New Hampshire to annouce the Palmetto State's Republican Presidential Primary is moving up to January 19. In doing set, they've set off a chain-reaction that forces the primary system to potentially further threaten democracy in the United States.
The SC GOP made its announcement in New Hampshire in what it said was a show of solidarity with the state that is traditionally the first to hold its primary every four years. In fact, under New Hampshire law, the Granite State's primary must be at least seven days before any other states. That means it will be now have to be no later than January 12. On top of that, Iowa always tries to make sure it holds its caucuses before any other state. Its leaders are now considering taking those votes in mid-December.
The jockeying by states for primary scheduling is hurting the process in general. As I've written about before, the presidential campaign is already drawn out too long. Now we're looking at actually having 11 months between the first primary/caucus and the general election. But what's even worse is that drawing out the primaries and caucuses means that your vote may not mean as much as someone else's.
The scheduling for North Carolina's primaries is still up in the air a bit. A bill filed in the legislature in February would move it up from May to early February. But for now, we have one of the latest primaries in the country. That means the nominations could be locked up by the time you and I ever get a chance to cast a vote. And there are several more states scheduled for later than that.
It's high time we have a national primary date, just like the general election. In doing so, we'd cut down on the mud-slinging and ensure that we all have a fair say in who becomes President of the United States. It would keep states like Iowa and New Hampshire from having a disproportionate of amount of poltical clout. It would also likely revive the excitement at and public interest in the party conventions. Once upon a time there was uncertainty about who would get the nomination going into the conventions, unlike nowadays when the nomination is wrapped up months in advance. Wouldn't it be great to have a convention again where multiple candidates still had a chance to win and have to go through multiple votes to do it?
Unfortunately, it's unlikely this would happen anytime soon. Instead we'll have to hope more states like North Carolina will move their primaries up so they are at least closer to the others around the country or even on the same day with the ultimate goal of consolidating them into my dream of one federal primary election day.
By: Kevin Wuzzardo