January 31, 2012
With the Florida primary about to become history, it might behoove us to ask.
Is the primary system working?
There are certain inequities.
Iowa and New Hampshire lead off things and are the first to cast their opinion, can rule out trailing candidates long before the rest of the country has even had a chance to weigh in.
The last states, on the other hand, have virtually no input in the process.
Originally, caucuses were the main method to select candidates where local party supporters sat around in smoke filled rooms to select their favorites.
The primaries (and Oregon was the first in 1910) got it out of the backrooms and into the hands of the people.
A good idea.
But no one doubts that the present primary system is exhausting and expensive for candidates who spend for advertising, moving their national team around the country — to give basically the same speech over and over again.
It would take a political scholar to fully explain the highly subtle differences and ramifications from state to state.
So what do we do to rectify it?
Some propose a National Primary Day or perhaps a week or two, when you can lump all the state primaries together.
Or do we just leave the process alone?
With all its flaws, it does give you a chance, for better or worse, to get to know the candidates and see how they fare under pressure.
Keep it or modify it?
How do you vote?