Thursday, December 27, 2007

Iowa And New Hampshire: Same Old, Same Old

By G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young
27 December 2007

One definition of crazy is to keep doing diligently the same thing over and over when it's not working. By that definition America's presidential primary system is seriously loony, for with respect to developing a democratic process to nominate candidates for president, we have been doing the same thing over and over again for more than 60 years and it's not working.

The glaring evidence of that failure looms before us as the nation awaits the imminent Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary now scheduled for early January--both nomination events take place in small unrepresentative states that will largely dominate if not determine the rest of the primary process. Iowa and New Hampshire were supposed to be the warm up acts for the remainder of the primaries, but instead they have once again become the main event.

It is now too late to change this process for 2008. But it's exactly the right time to consider changes for 2012 and beyond. The time has clearly come for an overhaul of the entire chaotic process.

Two major options exist. One would produce a national primary while the second option provides for the adoption of regional primaries. A real national primary with every state participating on the same day has been proposed since at least 1916 when Woodrow Wilson advocated it. Its major strength is that potentially all Americans would have some role in the process.

Several versions of regional primary plans also have been proposed. Common to all the regional plans, a designated region of the country (i.e. northeast, south, west and central) would vote in alternate months beginning in February of the presidential year.

One regional plan, the so-called American plan would give small and medium states earlier primaries and larger states later primaries. A competing plan known as the Delaware plan would create regions by allocating each state into one of four population clusters based on population.


Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home