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California moves up primary, confirming front-loading trend

 
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 05:03 pm
Looking forward to it, realjohnboy.

In the meantime, on the bright side regarding the ever escalating "money-fication" of presidential elections, this tidbit:

Quote:
the percentage of individual contributions to Democratic presidential campaigns that came in units of $200 or less nearly doubled between 2000 and 2004, from 20 percent to 37 percent, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.

(source)

The reason: the advent of Internet-based, grassroots fundraising, which takes little investment and makes candidates less dependent on big donors.

The result, hopefully: greater influence for "the little man", less influence of the big donors, and ultimately less punitive the result of a politician daring to make decisions that go against the interests of one or the other of the powerful "donor class" lobbies.

Of course, some would say that instead, the "netroots" model means that the power that the lobbying donor class loses instead goes to the extremes within each party, as it is likely the most passionate voters who make the biggest impact on these small donations, and it is the most radical voters who tend to be the most passionate.

I dunno about that. In any case still think it's preferable over having the power be derived from the big-money lobbies.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 07:58 am
For those who favor a long, drawn-out primary election rather than a single, nationwide primary, a question: if the state-by-state, months-long way of nominating candidates is so good, would you also favor adopting it for the general election as well?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 06:55 pm
Hhmmm... well thats a provocative idea, not to mention a deliciously impossible one.

But come to mention it, I think it'd definitely have its advantages, yeah.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Mar, 2007 07:09 pm
I'm the one who weighed in a few minutes ago with the "good idea" vote.
As a Californian bemused for decades that New Hamphire and Iowa had such power to affect who the candidate would be, I'm much relieved. I agree with JoefromChicago and Cyclo, and find Joe's point about the convention coming back into play, at least potentially, in decision making, interesting, even exciting.

Also agree with nimh on the concern that all campaign all the time diminishes the chance for a politician to make a wise but unpopular vote. But, hey, that is going on now anyway.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 07:27 am
joefromchicago wrote:
For those who favor a long, drawn-out primary election rather than a single, nationwide primary, a question: if the state-by-state, months-long way of nominating candidates is so good, would you also favor adopting it for the general election as well?


I'd have no problem with it.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 10:47 am
A little tidbit I was unaware of until just this morning - In 2002 the FEC changed some of the campaign financing rules. I'm left wondering how that change plays into the extensions of the campaign seasons.

Under the changed rules a candidate running for office can pay themselves, from their campaign funds, the salary of the position they are running for. Once a Senator or Representative (for example) formally announces they are running for President they can make up the difference between their $165,200/yr salary as a Senator and the $400,000/yr that the President gets paid for as long as their campaign remains active. They can also pay their campaign Chief of Staff what the Whitehouse Chief of Staff gets paid, their Communications Director what the Whitehouse Communications Director gets paid, etc...

If I ran for the seat that Rep. Marty Meehan is vacating I could pay myself $165,200/yr! Woohoo! I could go out and solicit campaign contributions and just pay myself and a staff... I'd be better of not winning so I could continue to run every 2 years and just keep paying myself. Id be a professional political candidate. That's quite a gig...
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Mar, 2007 12:21 pm
nimh wrote:
Hhmmm... well thats a provocative idea, not to mention a deliciously impossible one.

It's not impossible, although it is, I'll admit, extremely improbable. In the early years of the republic, there was no single date established for the popular election of the president. The constitution permits -- but does not require -- congress to establish a uniform date for the presidential election, and congress only got around to establishing that date (the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November) in 1845. Prior to the 1848 election, states held their elections for president on different dates.

The constitution only allows congress to set a uniform date for the general election, so congress couldn't set up a series of state-by-state elections without amending the constitution. It could, however, simply repeal the law that establishes the uniform date that currently exists and leave it to the states to adopt their own election dates, as is pretty much the case now with the primaries.

nimh wrote:
But come to mention it, I think it'd definitely have its advantages, yeah.

Such as...?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 01:05 pm
New York is moving its primary up to Feb. 5 as well.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Mar, 2007 03:57 pm
fishin wrote:
A little tidbit I was unaware of until just this morning - In 2002 the FEC changed some of the campaign financing rules. I'm left wondering how that change plays into the extensions of the campaign seasons.

Under the changed rules a candidate running for office can pay themselves, from their campaign funds, the salary of the position they are running for. Once a Senator or Representative (for example) formally announces they are running for President they can make up the difference between their $165,200/yr salary as a Senator and the $400,000/yr that the President gets paid for as long as their campaign remains active. They can also pay their campaign Chief of Staff what the Whitehouse Chief of Staff gets paid, their Communications Director what the Whitehouse Communications Director gets paid, etc...

If I ran for the seat that Rep. Marty Meehan is vacating I could pay myself $165,200/yr! Woohoo! I could go out and solicit campaign contributions and just pay myself and a staff... I'd be better of not winning so I could continue to run every 2 years and just keep paying myself. Id be a professional political candidate. That's quite a gig...


You'd have to be a first-class bullshit artist, though, Fishin', for the campaign contributions to continue to roll in.

Yeah, i could see that . . . i've got faith in ya, Boss.
0 Replies
 
Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 10:23 am
It's an Epidemic.

Excerpt:

Florida moves to wipe out clout of smaller states with Jan. 29 presidential primary

By Anthony Man
Political Writer
Posted March 22 2007

Tallahassee - Hoping to muscle Florida into a pre-eminent role in picking next year's Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, the state House voted Wednesday to leapfrog almost all the other states and set a Jan. 29 primary, with an option to go even earlier.

The change, championed by House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, and approved 115-1, is part of a national rush by states coveting the clout of Iowa and New Hampshire. Those states have enormous sway in choosing presidential candidates, even though they are small and, some say, unrepresentative of the nation's people and politics. The proposal must still pass the Senate.

"Florida is obviously going to be the big enchilada on the 29th. It will immediately become very, very important," said Nichol Rae, political science professor at Florida International University.

Source
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 10:25 am
Hello, nation-wide primaries!!!!

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 10:29 am
Good grief!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 10:37 am
I think a national primary would go even further to entrenching the power of the "two party system"--a system nobody voted for, and which can not be reasonably said to benefit anyone or anything but the agenda of the two parties concerned. It is worth remembering that primaries do not simply choose candidates for the office of President, so that even within the context of the "two party system," state primaries serve a useful function.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 10:41 am
Setanta wrote:
I think a national primary would go even further to entrenching the power of the "two party system"--a system nobody voted for, and which can not be reasonably said to benefit anyone or anything but the agenda of the two parties concerned.


Agreed. I don't see how a national primary could be good for the little guy. They'd never have enough money to "play" in the game nationally. The "party candidate" would get all the party support to run their national campaign.
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 11:30 am
I wouldn't favor a long, drawn out election for the president, no. But giving lesser known contenders a chance to show that they can be effective vote getters and to gather attention they would not get if they run better than expected gives the electorate a chance to choose among a greater variety of contenders.

So Florida is moving it's primary up to January. With an option to make it earlier.

You know, January of the new year is not much later that November of the old year.

The way we're going, Joe is going to get his national primary. Only it will be held on Election Day of the preceding year. Everyone will vote for their party's presidential selection for November of 2008 at the same time they vote for their mayors, selectmen and school board members on November 6, 2007.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 02:08 pm
kelticwizard wrote:
I wouldn't favor a long, drawn out election for the president, no. But giving lesser known contenders a chance to show that they can be effective vote getters and to gather attention they would not get if they run better than expected gives the electorate a chance to choose among a greater variety of contenders.

Consider this scenario: Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he is definitely (at this moment) a lesser-known contender. Unfortunately for him, the Connecticut primary is scheduled for March 4, which would be late in the season even if other states weren't racing to hold their primaries on Feb. 5. There's only a slight chance, therefore, that Dodd will do well enough in the early races to make it to March 4, when he could at least expect to do well in his home state. Most likely, he would drop out well before then.

In contrast, suppose that all of the primaries were held on the same day. In that situation, Dodd could do well in the Connecticut primary, and maybe pick up a few delegates elsewhere. If no candidate got a majority of the delegates, then Dodd and the rest of the candidates would, in effect, start a "second campaign" between the primary and the nominating convention. The bargaining and deal-making during this second campaign would allow minor candidates like Dodd more influence, and might even make him an acceptable compromise candidate if there is a deadlock among the frontrunners.

Now, tell me: which scenario is a better one for lesser-known candidates like Dodd?

kelticwizard wrote:
The way we're going, Joe is going to get his national primary. Only it will be held on Election Day of the preceding year. Everyone will vote for their party's presidential selection for November of 2008 at the same time they vote for their mayors, selectmen and school board members on November 6, 2007.

The only thing that is surprising about all of the states rushing to hold their elections at the very start of the primary season is that it took so long for them to do it. In any situation where there is a limited resource that is available on a first-come-first-served basis, it is to be expected that there will be a race to be the first in line, even though the competition to be first yields a worse result for everybody involved. That's true whether it's a run on a bank or a scramble for festival seating at a Who concert. In this situation, every state has an incentive to move up its primary, even though each state can only gain the maximal benefit from that move if every other state doesn't move up its primary. And every state will have an incentive to move up its primary even further, in fear that it will be left behind by the other states moving their primaries up. Without any kind of national regulation, there's every reason to suspect that the states (led by New Hampshire, which is required by state statute to hold the first primary) will continue to move the primaries further and further up the calendar. That may not be an optimal result, but, as long as the decision is left up to each state, it is entirely predictable.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 03:29 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
kelticwizard wrote:
I wouldn't favor a long, drawn out election for the president, no. But giving lesser known contenders a chance to show that they can be effective vote getters and to gather attention they would not get if they run better than expected gives the electorate a chance to choose among a greater variety of contenders.

Consider this scenario: Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he is definitely (at this moment) a lesser-known contender. Unfortunately for him, the Connecticut primary is scheduled for March 4, which would be late in the season even if other states weren't racing to hold their primaries on Feb. 5. There's only a slight chance, therefore, that Dodd will do well enough in the early races to make it to March 4, when he could at least expect to do well in his home state. Most likely, he would drop out well before then.

In contrast, suppose that all of the primaries were held on the same day. In that situation, Dodd could do well in the Connecticut primary, and maybe pick up a few delegates elsewhere. If no candidate got a majority of the delegates, then Dodd and the rest of the candidates would, in effect, start a "second campaign" between the primary and the nominating convention. The bargaining and deal-making during this second campaign would allow minor candidates like Dodd more influence, and might even make him an acceptable compromise candidate if there is a deadlock among the frontrunners.

Now, tell me: which scenario is a better one for lesser-known candidates like Dodd?


Quite honestly the 1st scenario sounds a whole lot better than the 2nd to me.

At least in the 1st scenario Dodd could go and spend time each of the states before each one has their primary and try to gather support. He can gather all of his staff and team in New Hampshire and work that state until they have their primary and then move them all to Iowa and work that state. He may not win any of them but he would at least he would be able to talk to people in all of them and get his message out.

In your 2nd scenario he'd be left picking up CT's delegates on a National primary day and that'd be it. He doesn't have the finances, time or organization to run in every state at the same time. He could opt to go to the larger states and try to win delegates there and then you run into the same problem people complain about with the Electoral College. But even doing that would require more resources than most of the minor candidates have. Candidates in this scenario would have to opt for prime-time national advertising which would cost them an arm and a leg and we'd all spend our evenings watching commercial after commercial from 15 or 20 different people at a minimum. The more I think about that 2nd option the less desirable it becomes.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 04:45 pm
Yep, I'm with Fishin'.

Plus, of course, there's an obvious point to be made in re to JoefromChicago when switching from a Dodd-perspective to a democracy-perspective. There is a lot to be said against the democratic quality of primary presidential politics, for sure. But the scenario in which it will, at least, be the rapport between politician and primary voter that decides who will win the nomination still sounds a lot better than a return to the days when the nominee was indeed the product of "bargaining and deal-making" between party officials.

Successive primaries make it possible for voters to whittle the field down to the one who persuades the most of them. Iowa and NH bring the field down to 2 or 3, Super Tuesday yields the final candidate, thats more or less the format. But when you end up with a national primary, you do get that risk you sketch of a deadlock between two candidates. And you do then get, by ways of solution, a lot of dealing and wheeling within the party apparatus to win over this or that minor block of third-candidate delegates or to come up with a compromise candidate.

Its unfair that Iowa and NH voters have disproportionate influence, sure, but a scenario that leads you back to the smoky backroom mode of picking the final candidate is hardly going to be fairer.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 04:48 pm
nimh wrote:
Yep, I'm with Fishin'.

Plus, of course, there's an obvious point to be made in re to JoefromChicago when switching from a Dodd-perspective to a democracy-perspective. There is a lot to be said against the democratic quality of primary presidential politics, for sure. But the scenario in which it will, at least, be the rapport between politician and primary voter that decides who will win the nomination still sounds a lot better than a return to the days when the nominee was indeed the product of "bargaining and deal-making" between party officials.

Successive primaries make it possible for voters to whittle the field down to the one who persuades the most of them. Iowa and NH bring the field down to 2 or 3, Super Tuesday yields the final candidate, thats more or less the format. But when you end up with a national primary, you do get that risk you sketch of a deadlock between two candidates. And you do then get, by ways of solution, a lot of dealing and wheeling within the party apparatus to win over this or that minor block of third-candidate delegates or to come up with a compromise candidate.

Its unfair that Iowa and NH voters have disproportionate influence, sure, but a scenario that leads you back to the smoky backroom mode of picking the final candidate is hardly going to be fairer.


The primaries should rotate in date every few years according to a set schedule, get rid of charges of 'favoritism.'

It's obvious that this push to move them sooner and sooner is going to force a re-org before long; why not go all the way?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 04:55 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
The primaries should rotate in date every few years according to a set schedule, get rid of charges of 'favoritism.'


When you say this do you mean where the sequence of state primaries would be different each election cycle but still on different days?

I don't kinow that there is any way to force such a beast but I wouldn't object to that sort of situation.
0 Replies
 
 

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