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John Tierney reports in tomorrow's New York Times, while waxing lyrical, that political scientists have confirmed that the Democrats shot themselves in the foot by front-loading their primaries to coalesce support early in the race behind one candidate. An experiment shows that their process selected the wrong one:
IMAGINE there's no Iowa. No New Hampshire, too. Imagine the Democratic Party, instead of relying on a few unrepresentative voters to quickly anoint John Kerry, had allowed people across America to vet the candidates and contemplate the issues.
Then Mr. Kerry might well not be the nominee, and the Democrats would stand a better chance of reaching the White House, at least according to the results of a novel experiment during the primary season.
The experiment involved allowing a group of 700 people to take a longer time to get to know all of the candidates, meet to discuss their relative strengths and weaknesses, and make a stronger and more informed decision on the selection of the nominee. The result? John Edwards wins the nomination, which would have been one of two candidates that could have seriously threatened Bush in November (Lieberman being the other as a hawk on the war).
Tierney uses the John Lennon reference at the end as well, in describing the motivation behind the experiment:
"What would happen if people across the country were really engaged and informed and had a chance to think about the issues?" [James Fishkin asked.]
You may call him a dreamer. But there must be at least one former presidential candidate who shares his sentiments.
Not to mention many Democrats these days.Sphere It View blog reactions
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