May 7, 2007

Playing Leapfrog With The Primaries

The New York Times reports that California has reaped benefits from its decision to move its primary from June to February. The candidates have to address issues near and dear to California hearts, such as Net neutrality, redistricting, use of public lands, and much more. As other states see their influence suffer as a result, what keeps them from leapfrogging California, and California from leapfrogging again? At Heading Right, I argue that Congress has a role in setting elections for federal offices -- and that the time may have come for a more orderly and fair primary process that allows all states to have a significant say in nominating presidential candidates.

Also, be sure to read Rick Moran on what we can learn from the French presidential election process -- and not just in terms of turnout.


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» Federalize the Primaries? from The Crossed Pond
Ed Morrisey (of Captain’s Quarters, blogging at Heading Right), notes the current leapfrogging of states to get ahead of each other in the primary calender, and seems to argue for federal involvement at this point. His argument is that Congress ... [Read More]

Comments (5)

Posted by Brad | May 7, 2007 10:51 AM

Congress has purview and authority over federal elections. A primary is not an election in any sense of it. The election for president doesn't happen until November 2008. Winning a party nomination has nothing to do with federal office whatsoever, period.

A primary is a PARTY affair, wherein they decide who THEY want to send to RUN for office in that federal election. Congress doesn't have any ability to do anything about that, nor should they. It's an internal party selection process. The party is the one that decides to have primaries (they don't have to, by the way), they're the ones that decide how to do it, they're the ones that agree to abide by the results (they don't have to, by the way). They can nominate a wet paper bag if they like.

I agree with your point about the process having gotten mucked up, but it's an issue of the party, and needs to be taken up with them. Congress has nothing to do with it.

Conservatism 101: Just because something is not working optimally doesn't mean it's time for the government to swoop in and fix it.

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 11:52 AM


I would agree with the sentiment expressed in your concluding dictum above, but the fact is that the primaries exist at the behest of the governments of each State, not the political parties. So if Congress wants to diddle with the States' ability to establish and schedule primary elections, then the legal trapdoor is wide open for them to do exactly that. And don't forget that your average CongressCritter consider's themselves all-purpose problem solvers of unlimited scope and wisdom. And we keep electing them because they do, NOT in spite of it!

Good Luck!

Posted by krm [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 12:35 PM

What is to prevent the leapfrogging?

How about the political party rules. As I understand it, any state that moves its primary to a date before Feb. 5 loses some of its delegates to the convention. If the state wishes to lose its delegates (turning the primary into a non-binding beauty contest and diminishing the state's role in the nomination process), that should be OK with the people in other states.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 12:43 PM

In life, expect change. It's not just what happens to your hair, either.

But in politics, while some things are older than the hills. Including, since 1840, really dirty political games tossed at oponents. You also see that the lapel buttons, came. And, went.

So, why not see changes in the structure of the primaries?

We've got the Internet. News seems to fly faster since people no longer use the pundits to analyze days old news for them. The whole thing with "bursting headlines" seems to be fizzling. (Okay. Not for the tabloids. Paris Hilton still had her days "above the fold.")

But for the "juice" of the primaries to work, you'd have to see things remaining the same. When this just isn't true, anymore.

Of course, this is gonna make a difference on the right. (I'm not interested in the left.)

When Reagan ran in 1980, he was running against an unpopular president. And, still? The odd's makers thought he was "too old." And, they'd gain ground by painting him a "John Bircher."

Yup. Even on the right, things changed. And, instead of a small, exceedingly rich, group of men; who bought their position at the GOP table; they are gone, now.

How did the John Bircher's get kicked out? Well, sometimes, men just die off like flies. And, when you look back to 1980. And, you expect to see them standing there. All you get are grave stones.

While the right, itself, changed.

Reagan saw Blue Collar Democrats, galore! It's as if every union member, no matter what the union bosses paid to the donks; saw that in the voting booths, these people turned towards Reagan.

Fiscal conservatives? Yup.

Libertarians? Yup.

In other words BOTH PARTIES are now really minority parties. With most people NOT participating. When you ask the average "man in the street" for his party label? Lots of folks just say "they're independent."

And, what can we see in 2008? Seems France just taught a MAJOR lesson! And, let me point out that Sarkozy is a JEW. And, he won with a 6 point spread. That kind of win? It's a blow out. Royal was so far behind him, that the MANDATE also goes to the JEW. Neat.

Nah. Can't quite happen here.

But politicians are keenly aware of blow out elections. They talk about that, the way they talk about Secretariat. Memories of our best elections always come to the fore.

The Bush's? They ran to the top the old-fashioned way. So, there could be lots of stories you haven't quite grabbed onto, yet? WW1 was also like that. Run by the "old timers." Using the "subjects" like peasants to toss onto the funeral pyres. Books didn't come down until at least a decade later. And, if it wasn't for WW2, and it's blow-out results, we still be discussing what went wrong in the war that came "before."

As to Iraq? I don't see us at war. And, I don't see us tackling the terror issues, either. France, however, has just stepped up to the plate! Their big issue? IMMIGRATION. Put the stop to that. Get the muggers and criminals off the street. And, make them work.

How will Sarkozy deal with this one? Among what he wants to do: Take the taxes off of overtime pay. Reduce the inheritance taxes, which are now overwhelming. And, FORCE someone to take a job! In other words, when you're on unemployment; your time to get the checks will be measured. Since? The government can hand you a job, instead. REFUSE TO DO IT? No more unemployment checks. What's the spread? Currently, France has 8.5 unemployment. And, Sarkozy wants it reduced to 5%.

How he's gonna tackle the muzzies, however, I do not know.

But if you want another lesson? For a blow out with a 6% lead, Sarkozy got lots of WOMEN to vote for the JEW! No wonder Royal thought she'd win. And, she lost, instead.

I love upsets like that.

Posted by Del Dolemonte [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 7, 2007 8:15 PM

krm said:

"What is to prevent the leapfrogging?

How about the political party rules. As I understand it, any state that moves its primary to a date before Feb. 5 loses some of its delegates to the convention. If the state wishes to lose its delegates (turning the primary into a non-binding beauty contest and diminishing the state's role in the nomination process), that should be OK with the people in other states."

Here in New Hampshire, us illiterate cow-farmers put a brilliant line into our law for the NH Primary-we didn't give it an exact date, only specified that it would be "before" any other primary.

The ones trying to change that are (gasp) the Democrats. I'm shocked! Shocked, I say.