Saturday, August 25, 2007

And why is the end of everything so bad?

I love to spot statements in the press by people who seem oblivious to the fact that most people don't share their affection for the status quo. This is from the Washington Post, in a story about Florida moving up their presidential primary to January and threatening Iowa and New Hampshire's dominance of the nomination process:
"You now see the end of a system that we've been living with since the 1970s," said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000 and is a member of the DNC rules committee. "It fell apart in the last cycle, but we kept it together with very interesting glue and duct tape. Unfortunately, this is really out of control."
Let's see, turnout in the primaries has been steadily dwindling since the 1970s; presidential candidates have been withdrawing earlier and earlier each cycle, leaving most primaries with just one serious candidate on the ballot; and the Democrats haven't been able to come up with a nominee who got more than 50 percent of the vote in November since... 1976. What exactly is Brazile worried about?

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Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

Robert: I'd love to see Iowa and New Hampshire lose their dominance, but not at the expense of deciding everything even earlier than we have in the past few cycles. What we should have are five or six big regional primaries, starting in -- oh, I don't know -- April. Maybe March, but certainly no earlier.

8/25/2007 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Robert David Sullivan said...

I'd go along with a national primary in April or May. But I don't think there's any way to stop states from having straw polls, nonbinding primaries, etc. as early as they want. The problem with regional primaries is that there would still be great pressure for all but the frontrunner to drop out before most states voted.

I wish we could look to other countries for a solution, but I don't know of any other democracy where the opposition party has no leader (and, thus, no national candidate) until a few months before an election.

8/25/2007 03:58:00 PM  

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