Gee, that sounds familiar…

Remember a couple days ago when I said If it were up to me…. and I proposed a new way of doing the primaries that would be more fair? That post did get linked to by about 40 sites… but apparently not everyone likes to give credit.

Check this out on Shakespeare’s Sister:

It wouldn’t have to be hard. Divide the country up into five groups of states, starting with the 10 smallest, then next-10 smallest, and so forth. Run 10-state primaries every other week from the first Tuesday of February through the first Tuesday of April. If you want, put Iowa and New Hampshire in the first group for old-time’s sake. Craft a federal law that sets basic criteria for the primary: the value of each state in delegates, the means of apportioning delegates. Give the parties some input, but make this a federally operated election — meaning it’s time to eliminate caucuses, and replace them with primaries.

Dude, that’s uncool.

Continue ReadingGee, that sounds familiar…

Iowa Caucus Stats 2008

Here’s an interesting stat about Iowa’s Caucus

Total Voter Turnout (approximate):
Percentage of total vote:
24.5% Obama
20.5% Edwards
19.8% Clinton
11.4% Huckabee (R)

Despite Iowa’s rather convoluted caucus rules on the Democratic side, they still turned out more voters for Democrats than for the more straight-forward Republican process. That is a REALLY an interesting statistic, although there could be a couple different explanations for it, so it’s hard to say what it really indicates.

According to the New York Times:

A record number of Democrats turned out to caucus — more than 239,000, compared with fewer than 125,000 in 2004 — producing scenes of overcrowded firehouses and schools and long lines of people waiting to register their preferences.

The images stood as evidence of the success of Mr. Obama’s effort to reach out to thousands of first-time caucusgoers, including many independent voters and younger voters. The huge turn-out — by contrast, 108,000 Republicans caucused on Thursday — demonstrated the extent to which opposition to President Bush has energized Democrats, and served as another warning to Republicans about the problems they face this November in swing states like this.

I’m hoping that the correct interpretation of this is that middle-of-the-road Republicans stayed home because of Bush and the War, and only the nuts came out for Huckabee, who is, frankly, a nut himself.

I have to disagree a bit with my friend Davodd’s assessment of Iowa as a red state – it’s a pretty big swing state and isn’t a guaranteed win for Republicans. It is almost completely rural and religious, but very well-educated – Iowa’s education system is consistently in the top ten of the country for decades.

He’s right about them never picking a winning Democrat for office – even when a Democrat ultimately wins the White House, they were never a winner in Iowa. But the Iowa winner is always consistently in the top three, I believe. Iowa does have a way of winnowing out the pack. I think the “Democrat winners don’t win in Iowa” is more an effect of the super-early date than an indication of staunch conservative voting in Iowa. After Iowa, people get a better handle on the candidates. But it is a bit foreboding for Obama, though.

I do agree with Davodd that Iowa and other less important states have too big an advantage in selecting candidates. As I said yesterday, I think the system is screwed up and needs to be evened out so that we can get the candidate in the primaries that people actually want to vote for in November.

Continue ReadingIowa Caucus Stats 2008

How Primary Elections Could Be Better

The U.S. would have five days of political primaries, each a week apart, starting the last week of March. The first primary day would consist of the 10 states with the smallest voting population; the rest would increase upward until the fifth week when the largest voting states would hold their primaries in the final week of April. Then there would be a month of campaigning before nominating conventions in May.

The campaigning would be compressed into a shorter cycle that would make it easier for people to follow, and something would actually HAPPEN regularly, rather than endless shots of candidates’ tour buses and baby kissing. The primary wins would actually be representative of the various states and we wouldn’t be unduly influenced by states that don’t really affect the election cycle.

But it isn’t up to me, so there you go.

Continue ReadingHow Primary Elections Could Be Better