Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How's Next Week Sound?

It was bound to happen, and in today's New York Times it was reported that Iowa is now considering holding the presidential primary in December. That's 2007. Eleven months before election day. We are asked to pick the President a year before we are asked to pick the President. Somewhere there is a tipping point: a date so early that, were the primary to be held on that day, it would no longer be relevant for voters' behavior on Election Day. One of the dates would have to give, and Election Day is Constitutional. Maybe it would be good for the primary system to self-destruct in this way. Maybe we could even have meaningful conventions again, instead of the Oscar nights that we have now. My model: during April and May there are weekly primaries in roughly the same numbers of groups of states (Five primaries of ten states each? Ten primaries of five states each?), determined by lottery. Conventions Fourth of July week. New lottery every election cycle. Or something like that, instead of this out-of-control process we've somehow got on to now. Meanwhile an intriguing possibility is that the early primaries will turn out to be irrelevant.

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