Primary Scheduling

I was excited about the primaries this year. I read about all of the candidates so I could be ready when the primaries finally got to Texas. But by the time they got here, we already knew John Kerry was the candidate.

I know the primary schedule is traditional… but shouldn’t they all be on the same day? Are there any down sides to that idea that I’m not seeing? It seems to me the rolling schedule means that people in Iowa and New Hampshire have more say in who becomes President than the rest of us, and that just doesn’t seem right.

Nothing to add here, but… I’ve been meaning to open this thread for a while now. I don’t understand why people get all up in arms over the Electoral College. The method by which we pick the two evils we eventually have to choose the lesser of seems like a bigger problem.

The person with the best name recognition would win the primary. That’s the downside.

Why? How would that be more likely than in the current setup?

If I’m not mistaken, Dean led polls nationally on the day of the Iowa caucuses. I don’t think that was because of name recognition; it was because of campaigning. I’m not sure that would have been a good thing, but it seems fairer than people in certain states deciding that Kerry was our guy. I still think he’s better than Bush, of course, but there were one or two candidates I would have preferred, if I’d been given the chance to choose.

The primary dates are not as traditional as they used to be. All the states want to cut to the head of the line.

Hillary Clinton and Joseph Lieberman were also early favorites - based on name-recognition and nothing else. If Dean lead in polls, it was because he had conducted a different kind of campaign. He ran primarily on the internet and word of mouth. It didn’t mean he was a better campaigner, he just didn’t stick as much to the states themselves.

It would have been a bad thing. The primaries, for all their faults, are a process. You see who’s initially appealing, and then that guy becomes a target. You see how he deals with the scrutiny, the pressure, and the attacks. If he comes through and is still the most appealing, he should win. If not, he drops down in the running and someone else gets a shot. You need the primaries to be spread out so the whittling-down can happen. Otherwise, the only option is for an exhausting redux of the general election, only with maybe half a dozen candidates instead of two. And what do you do if nobody gets a clear majority? Still more primaries? Everyone would be exhausted by the end, and that much campaigning would probably screw the nominee.

Aren’t most primaries, as opposed to the general election, composed with some form of proportional representation? I seem to recall Sharpton and Dean having a few delegates despite not winning any states.

That mitigates the problems of the system a little bit. Early losers are still in the game until very late if they hang on.

A national primary would give the nomination to whoever had the most recognition on that day, not necessarily a good thing. Starting with two small states that test the candidates thoroughly is a good idea. However, I’d like to see no more than a month from the first caucus to the last primary. That way, more candidates can stick around for the whole process rather than drop out 3 months before the last primary.

I think that’s the solution I’m looking for. I agree that it helps to give some time to shake out the bad qualities of the candidates… but the current setup means those of us with later primaries end up having no choice–everyone drops out by the end (well, everyone with a viable chance; I believe Kucinich was in it until the convention).

I like the system the way it is. Iowa and New Hampshire do a good job of narrowing the field quickly. I’d also like the networks to set some sort of “electability” threshold for their coverage and debates in the latter primary states.
When it gets down to a choice betweeen two or three, it is annoying to have to listen to the fringe candidates beat the same dead horse over and over. It would have been nice to see a Kerry/Edwards debate without having to listen to Sharpton and Kucinich.