States set to move up primaries despite lack of interest
Image via WikipediaCaucus Blog, NY Times:
Until recently, there had been hope among the potential presidential candidates — and the reporters who cover them — for a more leisurely start to the 2012 election-year madness.Good grief! All three of these states are pathetic. They are trying to feign importance by going first despite the lack of interest. Even attempts to jump start GOP debates in 2011 have not been received with excitement.
That hope seems to be fading.
Officials in both Iowa and New Hampshire are talking once again about moving their contests earlier in 2012 as a way of ensuring that they will remain the first caucus or primary of the next presidential campaign.
As reported by the veteran political reporter John Distaso on Christmas Eve, New Hampshire’s secretary of state, Bill Gardner, has warned that the Republican primary may have to be moved up because the proposed February 14 date would land only four days prior to Nevada’s February 18 caucus – a violation of New Hampshire laws which require the primary to take place a week before a “similar election” is held elsewhere. (Except Iowa, of course.)
If New Hampshire moves, that could force Iowa — which has similar rules about putting some distance before another state’s voting — into January. That would break a gentleman’s agreement between the two parties to try and keep the official start of the 2012 voting in February, where it was for decades — before that, voting didn’t begin in Iowa and New Hampshire until March.
Having the primaries start before March is ridiculous, but these three states do not seem to mind being ridiculous to be first. If the parties can't control it and the Congress can't control it, it appears that only a Constitutional Amendment would do the trick. My preference would be for regional primaries starting on a rotating basis every four years.