Friday, May 4, 2007

Primarily, the system is screwed up

I always thought the primary system was silly. Now, it's crossed the borderline into ridiculous.

The way states are leapfrogging each other to stage the first primary of the presidential year, I wouldn't be surprised to wake up tomorrow and learn that someone is holding one next week.

It was bad enough when it all started with New Hampshire and Iowa.

Let's think about this a minute. New Hampshire? We're talking about a place that is almost exclusively white and rural. No offense to the Granite State, but does it really reflect the mainstream of America?

Did you ever wonder why the Democrats have had so many presidential candidates from New England in the post-World War II years? Maybe it's because New Englanders are playing at home, so to speak, in New Hampshire, and usually win. That gives them the slight push downhill that they need to gain momentum (and money).

We've already ruthlessly extracted all the fun from presidential elections, anyway. The conventions, which used to be grand spectacles, have become meaningless -- the candidates are already anointed ahead of time. What little suspense remains is then washed away by the polls.

Why, then, don't the two main national parties get together and decree that all the primaries be held on the same day, maybe sometime in late spring? Each state could have its own little celebration, the candidates would save a lot of time and effort, and no state could claim an early advantage.

But if that were the case, goes the argument, candidates would ignore states like North Dakota and Vermont (not to mention New Hampshire and Iowa) in favor of the big-delegate hunting grounds like New York, Texas ands California.

Like they don't ignore them already?

Besides, who wants to go to New Hampshire in February?

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