Election Escalation

Thu, October 25, 2007

Moms & Politics

State election officials across the country are acting like children and it’s time for them to stop.

“I’m first!”

“NO! ME! I’m first!”

“Not if I cut in line and no one sees me do it! Then I’M first!!”

Honestly, the boys in PunditGirl’s second-grade classroom are better able to negotiate their differences than the politicians who want to be first to weigh in on who the respective nominees for the White House are going to be in 2008.

I don’t entirely disagree with the debate — who said New Hampshire and Iowa get to be first anyway? But tell me this spat doesn’t call for a little visit from PunditMom.

According to The Politico, a relatively new entry into the world of political journalism here in the shadow of the nation’s capital, Iowa has just moved up its caucuses to January 3 from January 14th so it can beat New Hampshire, which currently has its primary set for January 8.

Earlier this week, Senator Carl Levin called for Michigan to move its January 15 primary forward to the same day as the New Hampshire primary in order to end what he called New Hampshire’s “cockamamie” first-in-the nation role. There’s been plenty of coverage of Florida being sent to the electoral equivalent of the time-out corner by the DNC for wanting to get an early edge in the election, as well.

I wish I had a good answer to this conundrum. But since we have a system where the states get to decide when their national primaries are held, there’s little hope that they’ll all agree to play nicely and compromise.

For better or worse, our presidential candidates end up being decided not by who is leading in the national polls, even though that’s what some candidates hope we will believe and will sway our decisions, but by which states are lucky enough to set the stage for early winners.

If a candidate tanks in the first two or three states, in recent history, the horse race has been over. So Hillary can have a polling lead that mirrors that of the proverbial hare, and still end up with the same outcome as the poor rabbit.

I have a sense that this will all get worked out so that, at least for this election season, the status quo remains.

But if our politicians don’t listen to reason and continue to act like second-graders when it comes to something as important as our electoral process, then they have to settle their disputes like second-graders.

After all, is there any disagreement among boys that can’t be solved by rock, paper, scissors?

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5 Responses to “Election Escalation”

  1. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    No kidding. It’s so childish. We’ll just move our primary up a few days and hope no one will notice. Sheesh. May I suggest a rousing game of Red Rover?

  2. SabrinaT Says:

    I think a good loud bull horn, and some time out chairs are in order!!

  3. David Says:

    The answer is to create a system where the calendar rotates. New Hampshire & Iowa are first this year, Michigan & Florida next cycle, Nevada & Nebraska the next, and so on. It will actually help encourage more people into the process and give each state a chance to push its own regional priorities on to the national stage every so often. Put the schedule together far enough in advance so you can give the campaigns some predictability to plan media buys and so on.

    This could only be done by passing a federal law, which the states would no doubt challenge in court, and you’d never see a presidential candidate endorse this system for fear of alienating voters in NH & IA right now, but it’s the only way to fix this.

  4. radical mama Says:

    I will admit that I don’t know a thing about the details of how our elections work. But is there a good reason that the primaries for every state aren’t on the same day?

  5. Mauigirl Says:

    They should just eliminate the whole primary thing, have a national election and then a run-off between the winners. It would make life so much easier.

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