View Full Version : The Primaries should be held on One Day
05-07-2003, 08:00 AM
After reading the thread concerning possible Presidential candidates, I started thinking about the pitiful state of the primaries in this country.
Generally, the "good old boys" from Washington are the ones featured in the nightly news and are the ones endorsed for the President. They somehow manage to scrounge up enough money to make it throughout the primaries and to get enough votes to become a candidate.
By the time the primaries reach Pennsylvania, the entire mess is already sewn up and that really nauseates me. Either some of the lesser known candidates have run out of money or the smear campaigns have become so effective that the remaining few are the only options.
And these remaining few are so entrenched with Washington bureaucracy and are owned by special interest groups that they are totally ineffective. Most of these guys couldn't even run a Jiffy Lube business.
I suggest that the primaries be held on just one day. Hopefully, money or the lack of it would be less of an issue in the selection process.
05-07-2003, 01:33 PM
actually, i would argue that holding all the primaries on one day would make money FAR MORE of an issue rather than less of an issue.
think about it: under the current system, candidates focus mostly on NH and Iowa for the first year of the campaign. these are both states with fairly small populations, relatively cheap media, etc.
so a "non-establishment" candidate with limited money can run a grassroots campaign, visting every diner in NH and every truckstop in Iowa. they can hold townhall meetings and go door-to-door.
if they gain a following, they can start raising money and expanding into more states. and if they win in the next few states, they will get even more $$ and be able to keep the campaign running.
this is, in essence, what happened to clinton in 92, and what reagan almost did in 76 (vs. ford).
(now there are entirely different arguments that can be made against giving two small states that are relatively unrepresentative of the population as a whole, particularly on the democratic side, such a large say in selecting the president).
on the other hand, imagine what would happen if there was a single primary day. candidates would have to run a nationwide campaign from day 1. the expense and logistics of a nationwide campaign are unbelievable. you need a charter jet, headquarters in 50 states, local staff all over the country, and a multi-million dollar nationwide media campaign.
such a system would ensure that the only candidates who could win a primary would be al gore-style "annointed" candidates or a candidate who could capture a vast majority of their party's fundraising dollars in the year before the election (which is what george w. bush did in 1999).
in fact, i would argue that right now the primary season is too compressed. you have NH and IA on one tuesday, then South Carolina that weekend, then Michigan and a few other states the following tuesday, then "super tuesday" where 20+ states (?) hold their races.
it is quite possible for someone to be completely knocked out of the race within 8 days (and after about 6 states) of the start of voting. and even if a candidate makes it through to that point, they then have to "nationalize" their campaign to fight through super tuesday. a lot of campaigns just can't pony up the $$ to cover all those primaries, and end up out of it after super tuesday.
so while i agree that special interest groups, entrenched washington political players, and fundraising have more to do with the selection of presidential candidates than objective measures of who would be the best president, i do not think that having a nationwide presidential primary would solve this problem. instead, it would make it worse.
05-07-2003, 09:25 PM
I don't really think the primaries really matter. Most candidates are decided upon before 80% of the primaries are done anyways, and if states can save money by not having them, they should go ahead and do it.
Besides, some states run their political systems a little differently and need the extra time to finalize some things for their primaries.
Lastly, it doesn't really matter. It's a moot point since there's no way the federal government could force states to have primaries at the same time. Primaries are, by definiton, set by the states.
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