Friday, January 26, 2007

How to Reform the Primaries

The presidential primary system needs reform. States acting in self-interest have sought to secure their status as bellweather states by scheduling primaries and caucuses earlier and earlier. It's a degenerative problem. The earlier and longer the primaries, the less relevant to the political process they become. A primary in Nevada in February of next year would be little more than a glorified poll. The solution is a fixed, rotating primary schedule. Over the course of April and May of an election year there would be, say, eight elections (weekly), distributed over eight regionally-balanced and size-balanced groups of states, chosen by lottery. The political conventions would be held during the month of June (or something like that). Each election cycle the order of the groups of states would change in rotation through all the states. This primary system would insure fairness for all of the states, and would help to prevent the political dominance of regions. It would also produce some colorful politics.

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