What's up with the states so eager to change their primary dates?

Why are various states so eager to move up their primary dates? Is this some kind of “king of the hill” contest to try to get ahead of everyone else? Do they want whatever alleged “goodies” Iowa and New Hampshire seem to get or something?

The way it currently exists, the primary system decides who the nominees will be early in the process. Any states that don’t move to the front of the pack will essentially have no say in who the nominees will be and will have to accept the choices made by the early states.

Why this time around? Everyone get dumb at the same time?

Exactly. Iowa and New Hampshire are seen as having inordinate amounts of clout because of their early primaries. The legislatures of all the other states are saying, “We want some of that.” My state, Michigan, is planning to move its primaries up to January 15th.

States have been rescheduling the primaries for a few years now. You get pretty sick of the same couple states always eliminating many candidates, and by the time you vote it’s to late to matter. This shuffling doesn’t work because it’s like a mob trying to get on a bus with 3 seats open.

I would like to see the implementation of a rotating Presidential Primaries schedule. It would schedule all states to be in the first few primaries at some point. Alternatively they could use a random listing for the next election, picked right after the president was sworn in. This gives states four years to prepare for the date they are given.

Have you noticed that political campaigning has become big business? The early states can bring in a lot of money from the various campaigns. There’s advertising revenue along with local staffing, hotels, parties, etc,. etc.

If your state has no say, there’s no reason for any candidate to spend their money there. Also, the more candidates in the mix (read: earlier) the more money that will get spent.

The primary calendar has been gradually “front-loading” for the last 20 years. One reason activity has been more intense than usual this time is that both parties have wide-open nomination contests, with no incumbent or VP seeking promotion. There is more action, and hence more incentive to get a piece of it.

How about 5 states each week for 10 weeks, starting from the smallest to the largest? The smallest states should go first since their early start would be mitigated by the smaller number of votes.

If 5 states per week is too many for the candidates to handle, then perhaps 2 states per week for 25 weeks, starting the first week of January, and of course, with the smallest states first.

I like this idea a lot. That’s gets to the core of the problem. If we have all of the primaries at once, then only large states get the benefit. If we have them the way we do now, essentially it’s New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina that make the choices, then the rest follow next week.

I’m definitely going to vote in the primaries being that I’m living in New York, but unfortunately I don’t know if I have a chance to make a difference. Maybe by the time it’s my turn to vote there will be no more options?

I’m sure my idea could be worked out better, if it was to be used. What I presented was a seed.

Some variation of this has been suggested for many years, the one that people like best being a rotation of four areas of the country, each area going first one election, then last the next and moving back up the list.

The problem is that state legislatures mandate certain dates. New Hampshire has a law that its primary must be eight days before any other primary and Iowa’s caucus by state law must be four days before any primary.

Those two states are the hold-ups. They love the money, attention, and money they get by being first. The national Democratic and Republican Committees can lay down rules but they can’t control the state legislatures. Example: the Democrats are threatening not to recognize Florida delegates is their primary is moved to January 29. However, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill doing so, because it wanted to move the Republican primary earlier. Nobody really believes that the candidates are going to ignore Florida’s 210 delegates, however. It’s an idiotic mess.

Unless all 50 states get together and agree on this, it will never happen. That means it will never happen. You can’t get people to agree to something that won’t benefit them for 20 years but benefits somebody else right away. And the big states want the benefits so will eventually roll over the small states. Not to mention the almost ludicrously unrepresentative nature of Iowa and New Hampshire in an urban, multi-cultural future.

Wait, what? Doesn’t that mean that by their state laws, the New Hampshire and Iowa primaries each have to be before the other’s? :dubious:

(Actually, that would be kind of entertaining, if some states passed contradictory laws like that. I would love to be voting in the 2144 primaries next week …)

I believe since Iowa’s is a caucus, not a primary, that everything works out. I could be wrong.

No, you’re right. Iowa has a caucus, not a primary. They’re legally different. The two states accommodate one another.

The scramble to be early is not a new thing. In the last presidential cycle, several states got lumped together on a “super Tuesday.” Indiana doggedly remains in early May, so the only way Hoosiers can have any effect of the primary is by donating money to favorite candidates. By the time we vote, most of the candidates on the ballot will have been bunted into the weeds.

Thanks for all the enlightening responses.

To: The Legislative bodies of Iowa and New Hampshire.
From: The Legislative bodies of DC and all of the US states (except Iowa and New Hampshire).
Subject: Caucuses, Primaries, and “Selections”.

Hi there,

Well as you know, we had our big get-together today to hash out possibilities for future Presidential election timelines. How come you guys didn’t make it? We totally sent you invites <snerk>. Guess they must have gotten mixed up with all of those direct mailings that you get from the candidates because of the disproportionate position that you both hold in the electoral process.

Anyhoo, we’ve all decided to implement a variation of a plan suggested by someone known as Harmonious Discord, and which we think would be a more equitable system than that currently in place.

Now, we’re really down with States’ Rights, and appreciate that New Hampshire should always have the first Primary, and that the Iowa Caucuses will always precede that by a few days. We wouldn’t EVER want to change that, no not one bit.

However, the thing is, we’ve decided to call our candidate selection affairs “Selections”, and we somehow wrote it that these “Selections” will always predate the Iowa Caucuses. This shouldn’t really affect either of you guys, since New Hampshire will still have the first “Primary”.

Purely by coincidence, our “Selections” will resemble the former “Primaries”. There will be distinct differences, however. The word “Selection” starts with an “S”, and doesn’t have a “p”, “r”, “m”, “a”, or “y” in it (note that the word “Primary” does). Different as maize and maple syrup…

Since we have an “Open Tent” policy, you guys are welcome to join our “Selection” process any time you want. It’s probably too late for either of you to get a good slot for the next few elections, however…

The Representatives of Most of the Citizens of the United States of America.

[P.S. Iowa: Way to Go on the Same-Sex Marriages; of course officially we’ll be all shocked and horrified to placate our constituents, but just between us – yay!]

The “goodie” involved here is substantial: a disproportionate influence with a non-representative demographic.

The “eagerness” of the other states is, quite simply, an effort to keep Iowa and New Hampshire from being special interest groups in electing the President. One of the finest farces in the Presidential election process is hearing candidates talk to these two states about how they are going to eliminate the problem of SIGs when the two states involved are functioning as exactly that.

But where do you take the first step? Right now, all of the candidates and the major party leaders are being wined and dined by the bigwigs in Iowa and New Hampshire. Do you think Hillary or Mitt Romney will come out against either one of these states being first?

If they do, then they will definitely lose that state, lose a bunch of donations, and possibly be the end for their candidacy. And for what? For a point of procedure about party primaries? Let someone else handle it…

I have a cousin who lives in New Hampshire. And it’s amazing when I talk to her or her husband about politics. They’re not particularly political but they have met every person who’s run for President (or thought about it) in the last fifteen years. I live in New York and I’ve never met Hillary Clinton or Rudy Guiliani or George Pataki or Mario Cuomo but they have.