Frustrated at having tiny states like Iowa and New Hampshire effectively decide who both parties’ presidential nominees are every cycle, California and Florida are both strongly considering moving their primaries toward the front. Dan Conley is not enthusiastic.
If you ever wanted a plan for ensuring that only the richest candidates had a shot at winning the nomination and that no issues would be discussed in any depth whatsoever, this would be the perfect end result.
If we’re going to run campaigns this way, we might as well have every state hold a national primary and get it all over with on one day. Because this is ridiculous.
So, we’re better off having candidates spend a year eating pancakes with the same twenty-seven people in Nashua?
Indeed, I would argue that “only the richest candidates had a shot at winning the nomination and that no issues would be discussed in any depth whatsoever” perfectly describes the status quo, not some post-apocalyptic future.
The idea that candidates build name recognition in Iowa and New Hampshire and then slowly build momentum as the process moves on is a quaint one but largely mythological. Since Jimmy Carter in 1976, has any candidate emerged as a major party nominee who wasn’t an early front-runner and well-heeled? Certainly, the nominees in the past several cycles have all been early front runners.
A national primary in, say, March, with a run-off in, say, June, would be much preferable to the way we do it now. If a candidate got 50% of the vote, he’d be the nominee. If not, the top two candidates would run against one another for another six to eight weeks.
That would force everyone to engage in retail politics on the issues rather than hanging around Merrimack Restaurant with the locals. And it would virtually guarantee substantive campaigning would continue into the early summer, since only shoe-ins such as sitting presidents would likely capture a majority in a multi-candidate race.
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