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California moves up primary, confirming front-loading trend

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 04:56 pm
fishin wrote:
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.


Yeah!

We would have a hard time forcing it, you're right, but it would work out well.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 06:26 pm
fishin wrote:
Quite honestly the 1st scenario sounds a whole lot better than the 2nd to me.

Maybe for you. Probably not for Dodd.

fishin wrote:
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.

Well, let's be realistic. A minor candidate would be a minor candidate regardless of the system that is adopted. Chris Dodd stands no realistic chance of winning the Democratic nomination under the present system. He stands only a slightly better chance of winning under a nationwide primary system.

fishin wrote:
In your 2nd scenario he'd be left picking up CT's delegates on a National primary day and that'd be it.

As opposed to dropping out after the Iowa caucuses without any delegates at all?

fishin wrote:
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.

Again, Chris Dodd would have problems getting the nomination under any system.

fishin wrote:
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.

Is that worse than not having any say at all in what candidates are nominated by the major parties?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 06:32 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.

Which primary voters? Why is it more democratic for the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire to choose the party's nominee than for the delegates, chosen by the party's voters throughout the nation, to choose the nominee?

fishin wrote:
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.

I am dumbstruck by the sheer illogic of that argument. Can you seriously contend that having the nomination decided by the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire is more democratic than having it decided by the nation's voters?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 06:40 pm
As the internet becomes more and more a part of out lives,

'local' means less and less.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 06:53 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
Well, let's be realistic. A minor candidate would be a minor candidate regardless of the system that is adopted. Chris Dodd stands no realistic chance of winning the Democratic nomination under the present system. He stands only a slightly better chance of winning under a nationwide primary system.


By your own admission the minor candidates have a minute chance at best under either system. Ok. I'll buy that.

joefromchicago wrote:

fishin wrote:
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.

Is that worse than not having any say at all in what candidates are nominated by the major parties?


Yes. Again, by your own admission the minor candidates have little or no chance under either system.

But under the existing system someone can run in the early states for a few hundred thousand dollars. If they do well, it becomes easier for them to raise campaign funds and they can continue onward. If they don't do well they fold up their tent and go home.

The networks aren't going to give 20 or 30 people air time for free. The papers aren't going to give them all equeal space. The only way to run a single national primary campaign is to buy time and space. Which minor candidates would even announce an intent to run if they knew they needed a $200 million war chest to run in the primaries? Hillary is probably the only Democrat with access to that sort of fund raising up front with McCain and maybe Giuliani on the Republican side. None of the rest of the current field would even be playing right now.

Your single national primary doesn't give you (or anyone else) more candidates to choose from because less would enter the race to begin with.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 06:59 pm
I can see some local winnowing before a National Primary - but as it is now the local winnowing seems to frame the scene for many vastly more populated states. Ridiculous disproportion of power to choose. I remember, if not in detail, the actual excitement, as opposed to the present theatrical play of the obvious, of the oldtime party conventions.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2007 07:21 pm
fishin wrote:
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.

Yep, I'd go for that too.

But now (with the frontloading rush leading to some kind of national primary), I see the baby being thrown out with the bathwater, instead..
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 08:04 am
Fishin' has made a very good point about campaign financing. It is even more important now, when we are entering a time in which the two candidates of the entrenched parties may well spend half a billion dollars in the election campaign.

Thirty years ago, the Democratic Party was so strapped for cash that they held a "telethon" to raise case, with Tip O'Neill as the surreal master of ceremonies. Neither Carter nor Clinton were nationally known at the time that each of them set out to run for President, and the primary system allowed each of them to gather funds necessary to keep their names before the public, and troll for other funds with which to run a national campaign.

Reagan, the elder Bush and the younger Bush all started out with substantial campaign funding, and in many cases, Republican candidates already have the support of a well-funded national organization when the start their campaigs--this was true of the elder Bush in 1980 (even though he had to step aside for Reagan, who was both well-funded from California and southwest conservatives, and successfully exploited the primary system), and it was true of Bob Dole, as well. The younger Bush has attracted and spent money in obscene amounts.

I agree with Fishin' that any system which requires the huge cash up front severely limits the democratic process by restricting the field of candidates.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 08:23 am
fishin wrote:
Yes. Again, by your own admission the minor candidates have little or no chance under either system.

But under the existing system someone can run in the early states for a few hundred thousand dollars. If they do well, it becomes easier for them to raise campaign funds and they can continue onward. If they don't do well they fold up their tent and go home.

Not necessarily. If a nationwide primary would, in an open contest like 2008, normally lead to none of the candidates receiving more than fifty percent of the delegates, then the decision would be left to the convention. In effect, then, the nationwide primary would establish a runoff system of elections. In a runoff system, the object isn't to win a majority of votes, it is to win enough votes to go into the second round. Consequently, runoff systems typically see a large number of candidates participate in the first round.

For instance, Louisiana operates under a non-partisan runoff election system. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round, the top two candidates face off in the second round of voting. That type of electoral system has always encouraged a large number of candidates in the first round of voting. In the 2003 Louisiana gubernatorial race, for instance, there were seven candidates in the first round. The French presidential electoral system works the same way, and there are about a dozen or so candidates for the 2007 election.

If a nationwide primary establishes a de facto runoff system, therefore, we can expect a larger number of candidates to participate in the primary. That is especially true because all of the candidates who received delegates would proceed to the next round, rather than just the top two. Because of that, a nationwide primary favors candidates like Chris Dodd or Mike Huckabee more than it hurts them. And experience with elections of this type confirms that point.

fishin wrote:
The networks aren't going to give 20 or 30 people air time for free. The papers aren't going to give them all equeal space.

They don't do that now. Minor candidates are minor candidates because they don't have a lot of support, not because of the system under which they have to run.

fishin wrote:
The only way to run a single national primary campaign is to buy time and space. Which minor candidates would even announce an intent to run if they knew they needed a $200 million war chest to run in the primaries?

They need that much (or more) now in order to run a credible campaign. That fact, however, doesn't seem to stop the Bidens and Brownbacks of the world from running.

fishin wrote:
Your single national primary doesn't give you (or anyone else) more candidates to choose from because less would enter the race to begin with.

For the reasons that I stated above, I believe you are incorrect.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 08:24 am
Setanta wrote:
Thirty years ago, the Democratic Party was so strapped for cash that they held a "telethon" to raise case, with Tip O'Neill as the surreal master of ceremonies. Neither Carter nor Clinton were nationally known at the time that each of them set out to run for President, and the primary system allowed each of them to gather funds necessary to keep their names before the public, and troll for other funds with which to run a national campaign.


As an aside to the thread - Did they? I don't remember this telethon! lol I'll have to go look on youtube and see if there are any clips from it. Something like that would be pretty funny to watch in light of current fundraising tactics. Cool
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 09:59 am
joefromchicago wrote:

Not necessarily. If a nationwide primary would, in an open contest like 2008, normally lead to none of the candidates receiving more than fifty percent of the delegates, then the decision would be left to the convention. In effect, then, the nationwide primary would establish a runoff system of elections. In a runoff system, the object isn't to win a majority of votes, it is to win enough votes to go into the second round. Consequently, runoff systems typically see a large number of candidates participate in the first round.

For instance, Louisiana operates under a non-partisan runoff election system. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round, the top two candidates face off in the second round of voting. That type of electoral system has always encouraged a large number of candidates in the first round of voting. In the 2003 Louisiana gubernatorial race, for instance, there were seven candidates in the first round. The French presidential electoral system works the same way, and there are about a dozen or so candidates for the 2007 election.

If a nationwide primary establishes a de facto runoff system, therefore, we can expect a larger number of candidates to participate in the primary. That is especially true because all of the candidates who received delegates would proceed to the next round, rather than just the top two. Because of that, a nationwide primary favors candidates like Chris Dodd or Mike Huckabee more than it hurts them. And experience with elections of this type confirms that point.


First off, you are mixing systems here and they aren't compatible. If we went to non-partisan primaries as LA runs their elections then there wouldn't be any conventions to hold the run-off in. The convention concept would go away - conventions are, by their nature, entirely partisan.

Secondly, I disagee with your assesment of how well an LA style system would work nationally. To run for Gov. of LA for example, you shell out your $1,125 and gather 5,000 signatures on a petition. It also requires that 500 of those signatures must come from each of the 7 congressional districts within the state. To apply that nationally the candidate would need to cough up $50,000+ in fees and gather a minimum of just under 220,000 signatures on petitions spread out from all congressional distrcts nationally. In effect it would be creating a national pre-primary. Gathering 5,000 signatures in 7 congressional districts is one thing. It would cost candidates significantly more to collect them from all 435 districts. And all of that is just to file the paperwork to run. They'd have to do that before they can even start soliciting campaign contributions.

Quote:
fishin wrote:
The networks aren't going to give 20 or 30 people air time for free. The papers aren't going to give them all equeal space.

They don't do that now. Minor candidates are minor candidates because they don't have a lot of support, not because of the system under which they have to run.

fishin wrote:
The only way to run a single national primary campaign is to buy time and space. Which minor candidates would even announce an intent to run if they knew they needed a $200 million war chest to run in the primaries?

They need that much (or more) now in order to run a credible campaign. That fact, however, doesn't seem to stop the Bidens and Brownbacks of the world from running.


A minor candidate right now can focus all of their funds and energy on one or two states and try to increase the funds that come in to their campaign as time goes on. Buying ad time/space in New Hampshire or Iowa is significantly cheaper than buying time on the national networks. Under a national system they wouldn't be able to do that. They'd have to have all the funds up front.

The candidates don't need that sort of money up front under the current system. They may need it to run their entire campaign through the final election but as of right now I believe Bush holds the record for primary campagn spending at $84 million - much of which he picked up after the primaries had already started and he was working with the national visability of being an incumbent president with no internal party opposition.

Howard Dean raised $25 million in the 18 months between the announcement of his 2004 run and the Iowa cacuses. He spent $12.6 million of his initial $25 million on Iowa alone. That's half of his entire campaign war chest on one minor state. Then he raised another $25 million between his 3rd place finish in Iowa and his withdrawl from the race a month later. If it hadn't been for the now infamous "Dean Scream" he probbaly would have raised a lot more than that post-Iowa.

His 3rd place finish in Iowa is what increased contributions by a factor or 18 but there is no way he could have run a viable national primary campaign with that $25 million. With $25 million he might have been able to buy 45 minutes of national TV advertising if he didn't spend money on anything else. He would have had no money for paid staff and no money to travel the country to talk with anyone. He wouldn't have finished with more than 1-2% of the national vote and he wouldn't have made to to any later run-off at a second round.

Dean never would have entered the race to begin with or, if he had, he would have seen the futility and dropped out before any national primary.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:09 am
fishin wrote:
Setanta wrote:
Thirty years ago, the Democratic Party was so strapped for cash that they held a "telethon" to raise case, with Tip O'Neill as the surreal master of ceremonies. Neither Carter nor Clinton were nationally known at the time that each of them set out to run for President, and the primary system allowed each of them to gather funds necessary to keep their names before the public, and troll for other funds with which to run a national campaign.


As an aside to the thread - Did they? I don't remember this telethon! lol I'll have to go look on youtube and see if there are any clips from it. Something like that would be pretty funny to watch in light of current fundraising tactics. Cool


I believe that was in 1976, before Carter emerged as a candidate. I'll see if i can find a reference.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:11 am
Here's some info -

Quote:
In 1972, the Democratic Party even held a one-time telethon to help it erase a multi-million dollar debt (This may have provided the inspiration for the 1979 film comedy Americathon, where a telethon is held to prevent national bankruptcy). The telethon idea was created and promoted by John Y. Brown, Jr., the businessman who built Kentucky Fried Chicken into a worldwide chain and later became governor of Kentucky.


Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:25 am
Yes, I remember watching part of it.

They even had an old style jazz type singer, the kind who would appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, running things.

Didn't think much bout it at the time, looked to me like just another variety show only with politicians on it. Looking back on it, yes, that was strange.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:26 am
I've found a reference, HERE which refers to a Democratic Party telethon in 1983--and HERE, there is a shorter version of the same story from the New York Times.

However, i've also found, HERE, a facsimile of the opening page of an article in the Journal of Politics, which in an annotation refers to telethons in 1974 and 1975--which might be the recollection which i have of the event (but not events, i only recalled one). This would suggest that it there were a telethon in 1983, that any telethon held in 1974 or -75 must have been considered a success by the Democratic National Committee. I've not found a reference specifically to a telethon in 1976, but my memory could be faulty on that, and i'm not going to spend any more time looking for it.

My point was, however, that there was a time when national committe finances were shaky, and when the performance of individuals who could reasonably be described as dark horses could get them not only a shot at nomination, but take them all the way to the White House. Traditionally, governors fare better in these contests than do senators, and the question arises in my mind whether or not Bush has queered the pitch. With hundreds of millions needed for a sucessful campaign, and with the national committees only likely to choose one of dozens of governors in an "open" election cycle (i.e., one without an incumbent)--i continue to agree with your assessment that a national primary would work against the dark horse, and tend to anoint the candidates chosen by the national committees.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:30 am
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Here's some info -

Quote:
In 1972, the Democratic Party even held a one-time telethon to help it erase a multi-million dollar debt (This may have provided the inspiration for the 1979 film comedy Americathon, where a telethon is held to prevent national bankruptcy). The telethon idea was created and promoted by John Y. Brown, Jr., the businessman who built Kentucky Fried Chicken into a worldwide chain and later became governor of Kentucky.


Cycloptichorn


You didn't give a source, Cyclo, so i can't say much, other than to note that i found evidence of more than one telethon, although specifically, none of the sources which i quickly found mentioned that they referred to a national telethon. However, in the case of the annotation mentioning a 1974 and a 1975 telethon, and the CBS News story archived at Vanderbilt and the confirming NYT story about a 1983 telethon--these all referred to activities of the National Committee. These could be construed to refer to a national telethon. I was still in the army in 1972, and would not have seen a telethon in that year.

What i did not mention was that i also came across references to regional telethons in California and elsewhere in 1960 and 1964. One reference specifically mentioned a California telethon which the H. Humphrey campaign ran in California in 1960. I didn't give references to those, because they weren't national.

Anyway, neither party is so impoverished today. It would be interesting to see the practice revived, though, if only to see who was willing to perform for whom.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:34 am
Setanta wrote:
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Here's some info -

Quote:
In 1972, the Democratic Party even held a one-time telethon to help it erase a multi-million dollar debt (This may have provided the inspiration for the 1979 film comedy Americathon, where a telethon is held to prevent national bankruptcy). The telethon idea was created and promoted by John Y. Brown, Jr., the businessman who built Kentucky Fried Chicken into a worldwide chain and later became governor of Kentucky.


Cycloptichorn


You didn't give a source, Cyclo, so i can't say much, other than to note that i found evidence of more than one telethon, although specifically, none of the sources which i quickly found mentioned that they referred to a national telethon. However, in the case of the annotation mentioning a 1974 and a 1975 telethon, and the CBS News story archived at Vanderbilt and the confirming NYT story about a 1983 telethon--these all referred to activities of the National Committee. These could be construed to refer to a national telethon. I was still in the army in 1972, and would not have seen a telethon in that year.

What i did not mention was that i also came across references to regional telethons in California and elsewhere in 1960 and 1964. One reference specifically mentioned a California telethon which the H. Humphrey campaign ran in California in 1960. I didn't give references to those, because they weren't national.

Anyway, neither party is so impoverished today. It would be interesting to see the practice revived, though, if only to see who was willing to perform for whom.


sorry Embarrassed Got it from Wikipedia, but they didn't source it so I didn't really trust it- just thought it might give some clues.

I apologize, I hate when people do that

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:36 am
That's cool, Boss, i often simply recount my memory of things, and don't necessarily source them. It only becomes an issue if someone argues with you. My search criterion must have not been sufficiently universal, because i didn't get a Wikipedia hit in my search results.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:37 am
fishin wrote:
First off, you are mixing systems here and they aren't compatible. If we went to non-partisan primaries as LA runs their elections then there wouldn't be any conventions to hold the run-off in. The convention concept would go away - conventions are, by their nature, entirely partisan.

Secondly, I disagee with your assesment of how well an LA style system would work nationally. To run for Gov. of LA for example, you shell out your $1,125 and gather 5,000 signatures on a petition. It also requires that 500 of those signatures must come from each of the 7 congressional districts within the state. To apply that nationally the candidate would need to cough up $50,000+ in fees and gather a minimum of just under 220,000 signatures on petitions spread out from all congressional distrcts nationally. In effect it would be creating a national pre-primary. Gathering 5,000 signatures in 7 congressional districts is one thing. It would cost candidates significantly more to collect them from all 435 districts. And all of that is just to file the paperwork to run. They'd have to do that before they can even start soliciting campaign contributions.

Not only have you missed the point, you have quite possibly missed the point by a larger margin than anyone has ever missed any point before.

I did not mention the Louisiana electoral system in order to advocate its use in place of the current system -- I have no idea how you could have made that error. Rather, I simply mentioned it (along with the French method of electing presidents) as an example of an electoral system that employs a runoff.

fishin wrote:
A minor candidate right now can focus all of their funds and energy on one or two states and try to increase the funds that come in to their campaign as time goes on. Buying ad time/space in New Hampshire or Iowa is significantly cheaper than buying time on the national networks. Under a national system they wouldn't be able to do that. They'd have to have all the funds up front.

Under a nationwide primary they could also focus all of their funds and energy on one or two states. Dodd could focus on Connecticut, Richardson on New Mexico, Huckabee on Arkansas, etc. The difference is that they could all focus on states that they had the potential to win, rather than on Iowa, which they probably can't. Furthermore, these minor candidates would give voters who support them a chance to vote for them, rather than having the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire knock them out of the race first.

fishin wrote:
The candidates don't need that sort of money up front under the current system.

No doubt fundraising objectives and minima would change under a nationwide primary system, but then so would electoral tactics. Some candidates would run on a nationwide basis: they would need to raise millions of dollars before the first ballot was cast. But then credible candidates need to do that right now, so there wouldn't be any change there. The difference would be in the way they spend their money. On the other hand, candidates who positioned themselves as regional favorites rather than as national candidates would not need to raise as much money as their more lavishly funded rivals, but they also could compete with them more effectively with targeted spending within a region.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Mar, 2007 10:38 am
Setanta wrote:
That's cool, Boss, i often simply recount my memory of things, and don't necessarily source them. It only becomes an issue if someone argues with you. My search criterion must have not been sufficiently universal, because i didn't get a Wikipedia hit in my search results.


Lol, I googled 'democratic party telethon'

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
 

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