#rsrh It’s the year before a year that’s equally divisible by four…

…that means it’s time to deal with the issue that has the most lopsided PiTA/True Relevance ratio in American political theory.  I refer, of course, to the annual battle over who gets to have their primary first:

In the final days before states submit their primary and caucus plans to the Republican National Committee, the GOP is sweating bullets over the possibility that a gang of rogue states could still wreak havoc on the 2012 presidential nominating process.

One state, Arizona, has already announced that it will violate RNC rules and hold its primary on February 28 – a full week before joint RNC-Democratic National Committee rules permit states to do so. Michigan’s legislature is also moving toward scheduling its vote for the same date.

Then there’s Florida, a repeat offender when it comes to calendar mischief, which has empaneled a committee to choose an election date that’s expected to fall before the RNC-sanctioned date of March 6.

Short version… you know the short version already: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina always want to go first, the national parties always go along, and everybody else complains about it. Normally it doesn’t even matter… except that in 2008 Michigan and Florida’s insistence on going first meant that Senator Clinton’s wins in both (and she frankly would have won both primaries anyway) were more or less invalidated, thus helping put Senator Obama over the top.


Yeah, that really f*cking worked out for the country, Florida. Can’t you take a hint?

Moe Lane


  • Skip says:

    Eh, I’m pretty much in favor of destroying that little tradition. I think it should be by region, with the regions rotating. And if you want to make sure a little state goes first, to keep the tradition of retail hands-on politics in presidential elections, fine. You can find one in every region, at least by population. Why not let Idaho get all the attention one time, or Oklahoma? The existing system causes huge problems. How many more brown-skinned folks have to starve because of the US presidential candidates needing to pander to Iowa on ethanol?

  • DaveP. says:

    Random draw of all states for position, with states in the Top Ten being barred from the Top Ten for the next five draws.
    Candidates would have to campaign in ALL the states and ALL the states would get a chance to be of importance in the decisionmaking process.

  • GregR says:

    I propose a system based on voter turnout. States with higher turnout percentages would go to the front of the line in the next primary season. The whole thing could be divided up into blocks, with 5 states in each block. The whole thing would take 10 weeks.

  • Anotheridea says:

    I have always thought it would be better to have a national lottery on Labor Day of the year prior. The lottery would distribute no more than four slots per week for the weeks in March, April and May until all primaries were accounted for. No Super Tuesday, no multi year campaign in 3 states with little other impact.

    Making the order random each time would inhibit the desire to build staffs in NH and Iowa years before the primary and hopefully reduce the incessant campaigning. In stead, candidates would have to actually do something of value to be noticed.

  • Brian Swisher says:

    You know which state helped screw up the “Bloody Shirt” election of 1876? Florida. And they only had three electoral votes at the time…

    Their motto should be “Doing a lot with a little”.

    As for me, I can’t get excited about this crop of candidates because Oregon’s primary happens so late that most, if not all but one, have been shaken out by then. I think I wrote in Fred Thompson last time, fat lot of good that did…

  • Jeff says:

    The surprising part is that its so few states that are causing trouble, you’ld think there’ld be more. Don’t all states want to be pandered to?

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