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Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 09:22 AM Aug 2013

We Need to Reclaim the Primary Process

I think most people will agree that too often, we are forced to hold our noses and vote for someone almost wholly unrepresentative of our own values and ideals. This process repeats itself election cycle after election cycle and I'd like to try to open up a discussion to address the issue as to as it relates to the Primary process. Specifically, I'd like to focus on two aspects: The current staggered primary system and political party interference in the primary process.

It's not a new idea but I propose we change all states' primaries to the same day. Too much of the country is left out of the selection process. As a Californian, I don't actually get to participate in determining where the candidates are placed on the hierarchy. Iowans get to do that for me. As do the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina and a handful of others. I'm a Californian and, as a Californian, my sole contribution to the primary process is to give money which then gets taken out of California so people I don't know can determine the candidate for me. We're the most populated state in the union and our primaries are in June, a full THREE MONTHS after the candidates have been selected. Wouldn't a more equitable system be that all primaries are held on the same day? A process that leaves out 80% of the population cannot possibly be called democratic.

Another serious problem is the interference of the political parties in the primary process. Ideally, the Party is supposed to remain neutral but that doesn't happen. We all know, for example, who the Democratic frontrunner will be in 2016 -- a full 3 years before the primaries. I don't think any serious person could deny that Hillary Clinton firmly has the Party Machine behind her. That's the reality. And should she, for whatever reason, decide not to run, their Corporate Toady bench is deep. We can't change what the Democratic Party Machine decides to do but, what if we ask each Democratic primary candidate to pledge that they won't pull out of the race until every state has voted (assuming we're still having staggered primaries)? Each candidate would have to rely on their supporters to keep going but isn't that the way it's supposed to work?

Discussion would be most welcome.

83 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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We Need to Reclaim the Primary Process (Original Post) Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 OP
I'm going to kick this once Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #1
Changing our system of government got more respone than this good post. mick063 Aug 2013 #2
I don't know, I thought it a good topic of discussion Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #3
This is key. That's why it's given so little oxygen. Also... Junkdrawer Aug 2013 #4
Every Primary in the nation should be held the same day, a month before the General. 1-Old-Man Aug 2013 #5
Yes, that would be one step nadinbrzezinski Aug 2013 #6
I said something like this after '08, which was unbelievably unbalanced. LWolf Aug 2013 #7
I have a problem with the Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #13
I remember the league of women voters debates. LWolf Aug 2013 #18
Well, as far as I know, Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #23
That's a good start. LWolf Aug 2013 #29
We do have several "activist" forums. Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #37
Here's an idea--if you want to reclaim the process, how about showing up to do the work? msanthrope Aug 2013 #8
Here's another idea -- Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #9
But it is about you. It's about personal action, and what you are willing to do msanthrope Aug 2013 #11
The topic is the primary process. Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #14
Yes--the primary prcess doesn't change until enough actual bodies within the Party want to msanthrope Aug 2013 #17
Oy vey! Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #27
The entire point of a primary process is whittling down the slate. msanthrope Aug 2013 #44
How can a candidate stay in the primary if s/he doesn't have any money? KamaAina Aug 2013 #53
Through grass-roots support. Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #54
South Carolina is in the mix because KamaAina Aug 2013 #60
I live in Oregon. I was very fucking involved from platform convention on in 2008 and in the Bluenorthwest Aug 2013 #21
But isn't that an Oregon problem? Work to move the primary. The primaries are msanthrope Aug 2013 #25
For starters... bobclark86 Aug 2013 #50
My point is that becoming the Party may be the only way. nt msanthrope Aug 2013 #58
I don' t live in Iowa or New Hampsire mick063 Aug 2013 #10
But you have local races, right? nt msanthrope Aug 2013 #12
You seem to be laboring under a false premise Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #15
I have no idea what you do all day. But here's what I do know--you are complaining about the msanthrope Aug 2013 #20
Here's what you said: Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #28
I think your idea of a national primary is disastrous....Joe Lieberman msanthrope Aug 2013 #57
I never proposed Calfiornia's primary be moved Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #59
Work for the "Party" selected candidates? That's your idea of reclaiming the process? Junkdrawer Aug 2013 #79
Hey--here's an idea that might seem odd on Democratic Underground, but yeah-- msanthrope Aug 2013 #81
national primary means the establishment candidate wins automatically nt geek tragedy Aug 2013 #16
In what way? Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #19
That would mean the presidential ticket would be picked on the same day nationwide. geek tragedy Aug 2013 #22
But isn't that what we have now? Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #32
Joe Lieberman could have won a national primary in 2004. Howard Dean would have never been heard of. geek tragedy Aug 2013 #34
That's supposition based on Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #39
Partisan thinking is inappropriate when contemplating primaries? nt geek tragedy Aug 2013 #40
Imo partisan thinking is always inappropriate Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #42
Then there's no point to having primaries. nt geek tragedy Aug 2013 #43
That was just a personal opinion Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #46
The entire point of primaries is to define a single political party. It is inherently partisan. geek tragedy Aug 2013 #48
No, the entire point of primaries is to determine Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #49
Your title says "we need to reclaim the primary process" geek tragedy Aug 2013 #51
The 85% of the people who Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #52
This message was self-deleted by its author ieoeja Aug 2013 #33
Imagine 2004 if there had been a national primary. geek tragedy Aug 2013 #35
This message was self-deleted by its author ieoeja Aug 2013 #41
Process is more important than policy. Whining doesn't help. CK_John Aug 2013 #24
Get rid of caucuses. Very easily manipulated. boston bean Aug 2013 #26
That would still leave the process of Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #36
We have caucuses in Minnesota, but all they can do MineralMan Aug 2013 #66
Agree completely. BlueCheese Aug 2013 #75
First, don't give any more money to Pacs, give it directly to the candidate you want in your state. sabrina 1 Aug 2013 #30
as soon as i get a couple billion dollars to buy it away from the networks etc... librechik Aug 2013 #31
Rotating regional primaries question everything Aug 2013 #38
Rotating regional primaries is a better solution. Jim Lane Aug 2013 #45
I'm for anything that gives Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #47
The Primary Process Isn't Just for the Presidential Election. MineralMan Aug 2013 #55
The primary process seems to be corrupted for lower offices too A Little Weird Aug 2013 #61
Each state decides for itself when its Primary elections take place. MineralMan Aug 2013 #64
I get what you're saying A Little Weird Aug 2013 #71
The biggest problem is with Iowa and NH being first all the time. DCBob Aug 2013 #56
I like having the small states vote first. JustABozoOnThisBus Aug 2013 #62
So, instead, the smaller states get to tip the scales? Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #63
The small states get to tip the scales a little JustABozoOnThisBus Aug 2013 #68
Impractical and/or unconstitutional onenote Aug 2013 #65
Actually, I never proposed national legislation Le Taz Hot Aug 2013 #69
If there are a "myriad of options" I would expect someone to describe at least one onenote Aug 2013 #76
k&r avaistheone1 Aug 2013 #67
This Californian is in total agreement with you. AtomicKitten Aug 2013 #70
I'd have Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Vermont, Louisiana and Mississippi all go first stevenleser Aug 2013 #72
As a practical matter, how would you get this implemented? onenote Aug 2013 #78
No, I am right there with you. I'm just saying that in my perfect world, that's how it would be stevenleser Aug 2013 #82
YOu'd have better luck getting CA to move its primary up. Bake Aug 2013 #73
California's primary used to be June. Then it was moved up to February. onenote Aug 2013 #77
So for a national candidate, you want all the focus to be on large States... brooklynite Aug 2013 #74
The good and the bad of a long primary season mick063 Aug 2013 #80
The expense of the current system goes both ways. If you win Iowa or New Hampshire, both small stevenleser Aug 2013 #83
 

mick063

(2,424 posts)
2. Changing our system of government got more respone than this good post.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 10:17 AM
Aug 2013

Which is actually more realistic.

The game is rigged because of the primary process.

I refuse to pay the ever increasing ransom. If Iowa puts a corporate puppet before me in the general election, I will abstain.

You cannot continuously pay ransom and be left with anything worthwhile. I will no longer be extorted.

Junkdrawer

(27,993 posts)
4. This is key. That's why it's given so little oxygen. Also...
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 10:48 AM
Aug 2013

I've long suspected that THIS is where electronic election fraud would be used the most.

1-Old-Man

(2,667 posts)
5. Every Primary in the nation should be held the same day, a month before the General.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:00 AM
Aug 2013

Let them campaign as long as they like, but put all the Primary elections on the same day and then leave a short period from the Primary to the General election.

 

nadinbrzezinski

(154,021 posts)
6. Yes, that would be one step
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:05 AM
Aug 2013

But the system, won't happen, should be federal, not state run...(won't happen, it requires an amendment and states will not give it up) We also need proportional representation to break the hold both parties have. Won't happen.

But if it did both national parties would break into the component parties, and third parties would also be able to run credible races. Nobody wants to give power...so won't happen, and it also requires a change to the Constitution. But in reality...winner takes all is a major weakness to the system.

Oh and I forgot, come 2016 I will vote my conscience. It will make zero difference anyway.

LWolf

(46,179 posts)
7. I said something like this after '08, which was unbelievably unbalanced.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:06 AM
Aug 2013

My primary was in late May, MONTHS after there were only 2 unacceptable (to me) candidates left standing, and the nomination had already been called for Obama before anyone in my state cast a vote.

I was told that a single day for a primary would not be fair because candidates, especially those with fewer campaign funds, could not campaign in all 50 states at once.

I concede half a point for that, but would still like to see everybody's primary on the same day, and no reporting out until all results are in. Having Iowa and New Hampshire decide who I can vote for in my own primary is insulting, to say the least.

I'd also like to see what passes for "debates" go away. I'd like to see several national debates moderated by actual debate moderators, that ask every candidate the same questions, and the same number of questions. Equal talking time. Put them on CSPAN.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
13. I have a problem with the
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:19 AM
Aug 2013

claim that it's not fair because candidates with fewer campaign funds cannot campaign in all 50 states at once. It's also not fair that a handful of people in a handful of states get to choose the primary candidates. I think that makes a much better case for fairness.

The debates. Don't get me started. It's nothing but a dog-and-pony show. I don't know if you're old enough to remember the League of Women Voters-sponsored debates but some years ago BOTH parties (collusion?) agreed to eliminate that organization from the process and settled on the format we have now which amounts to nothing more than 1-1/2 of sound bites with absolutely NOTHING new.

LWolf

(46,179 posts)
18. I remember the league of women voters debates.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:25 AM
Aug 2013

I agree.

Is there anything we can do that will have an effect before the '16 primaries get rolling?

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
23. Well, as far as I know,
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:29 AM
Aug 2013

they're still around. Why not go to them an propose that they resume those debates and invite ALL candidates -- VERY early on in the process, long before any caucuses or primaries. We at DU could certainly do our part of convince the candidates that they need to participate.

LWolf

(46,179 posts)
29. That's a good start.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:38 AM
Aug 2013

I wonder if some sort of activist group could be formed. I know that a group formed a month or two ago on FB for teachers. It's certainly not the only group formed to oppose the current education "reforms," but this one is aggressive, getting press, and has almost 24,000 members. It's a closed group. It exists to organize and publicize group actions.

Does DU still have an activist forum? Would that be the place to start?

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
37. We do have several "activist" forums.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:49 AM
Aug 2013

It's under the umbrella heading "Activism" to the left of your screen. I would be ALL IN for doing something within DU. That would be great!

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
8. Here's an idea--if you want to reclaim the process, how about showing up to do the work?
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:08 AM
Aug 2013

Voter drives, leafleting, social media, phone banks, voter outreach to minority communities, working with local candidates, etc?

Who's your local Democratic Party? I ask 'who' because the Party is the people who show up and do the work of the Party.

It's a thought.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
11. But it is about you. It's about personal action, and what you are willing to do
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:17 AM
Aug 2013

to change the process.

At some point, one needs to get off the Internet and do. Which 2014 candidate are you working for?

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
17. Yes--the primary prcess doesn't change until enough actual bodies within the Party want to
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:25 AM
Aug 2013

change it. How do you think it should change? A mandate from the DNC? Top-down?

You want to change the California primary process? Start with working to do that at a grassroots level in California. Start working to change the Party.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
27. Oy vey!
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:34 AM
Aug 2013

This is NOT about the "California primary process." Are you just not getting it or are you being deliberately obtuse?

"The Party" has no intention of changing anything. Why would they? They set it up to work for their advantage, why would they change it?

And I suggested a remedy in my OP: All candidates vow to stay in the primary until all states have voted.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
44. The entire point of a primary process is whittling down the slate.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:08 PM
Aug 2013

What I am suggesting to you is that you get involved and change the Party.

 

KamaAina

(78,249 posts)
53. How can a candidate stay in the primary if s/he doesn't have any money?
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:27 PM
Aug 2013

Because these days, primaries are all about the Benjamins. I'm old enough to remember when the question was "Can Lamar Alexander carry the South?" rather than "Can Bill Bradley tap into Wall Street donors?" The point was illustrated starkly last cycle when Mittwit's money men basically forced him to pick Lyin' Ryan for VP.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
54. Through grass-roots support.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:38 PM
Aug 2013

No, they're not going to be able to play the ad-buy game but that game is only played in a few states anyway, certainly not all of them. I don't see that the ad-buys are all that effective anyway. All they do is piss people off and make them turn off their TV. The VOTES are what needs to determine the candidate and not money. Congress isn't going to engage in campaign finance reform because they are the direct beneficiaries of the system. Why CAN'T a candidate have a presence in all 50 states? Dean did it. It's certainly worth a try --ANYTHING to keep Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina choose the candidates before 85% of the country gets a chance to vote on them.

 

KamaAina

(78,249 posts)
60. South Carolina is in the mix because
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:58 PM
Aug 2013

Lee Atwater worked within the repuke party to make it happen.

This Lee Atwater:

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater

You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r.” By 1968 you can't say “n****r” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now (that) you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is (that) blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r.”


Who will be the anti-Lee Atwater?
 

Bluenorthwest

(45,319 posts)
21. I live in Oregon. I was very fucking involved from platform convention on in 2008 and in the
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:27 AM
Aug 2013

Primary we were still stuck with just the two choices and no amount of local work on the ground would change that. Our choices were 'her or him' and yet other States got a full line up dancing and signing for them for months on end.
Bogus.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
25. But isn't that an Oregon problem? Work to move the primary. The primaries are
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:30 AM
Aug 2013

meant to be a whittling-down process. Oregon had less than 1% of write-ins in the primary, correct?

bobclark86

(1,415 posts)
50. For starters...
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:21 PM
Aug 2013

Iowa and New Hampshire would throw a shit-fit if someone moved up. Oh, AND SO WOULD THE PARTY:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/us/politics/09florida.html?_r=0

It's in the party bylaws. States who move up their primaries lose delegates, just like in '08. How's that for rigged against change?

Oh, and try getting the twits in early primary states to agree with a one-day primary and give up their holy power to choose for us mortals who get two craptastic choices at the end.

 

mick063

(2,424 posts)
10. I don' t live in Iowa or New Hampsire
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:17 AM
Aug 2013

Besides the fact that no one here knows how much I do or do not participate,

Further, the postal service, newspapers, and education are all facing major changes due to technology advancement. Let me add politics to the list.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
15. You seem to be laboring under a false premise
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:22 AM
Aug 2013

and that is, all we do is sit around on the internet and do nothing else. I have to ask myself, why would one assume this?

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
20. I have no idea what you do all day. But here's what I do know--you are complaining about the
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:26 AM
Aug 2013

primary process, as opposed to complaining about your efforts to change the primary process.

You are in California? Start networking with others who feel the way you do and change the process.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
28. Here's what you said:
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:38 AM
Aug 2013

"At some point, one needs to get off the Internet and do." The implication is that all we do is get on the internet.


ANYWAY, could we PLEASE get back to the topic at hand? Please?

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
57. I think your idea of a national primary is disastrous....Joe Lieberman
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:45 PM
Aug 2013

would have been the 2004 candidate.

I think at this point, moving the CA primary would favor the richest candidates...as they would be the ones who would be able to afford the media costs and the organizational presence. I cannot describe the level of statewide presence a primary takes....imposible to do in a state like CA.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
59. I never proposed Calfiornia's primary be moved
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:47 PM
Aug 2013

so I'm not sure what you're addressing here.

If you think the idea of a national primary is a bad one what would be your solution to address the problem that too many people are left out of the primary process?

Any suggestions are welcome.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
81. Hey--here's an idea that might seem odd on Democratic Underground, but yeah--
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 05:15 PM
Aug 2013

work for Democratic candidates!!!




Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
19. In what way?
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:26 AM
Aug 2013

Right now the establishment candidate always "wins" anyway. I have no doubt, for example, that if California had the first primary the lineup would be COMPLETELY different. I posit that the same would apply for a same-day primary system. Let's face it, when we're talking about holding our nose and voting we're talking about having to vote for the same corporate-whore candidates that the Party Machine has shoved in front of us. Let's change that.

 

geek tragedy

(68,868 posts)
22. That would mean the presidential ticket would be picked on the same day nationwide.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:28 AM
Aug 2013

Only a candidate with a big amount of (1) money, (2) name recognition (3) institutional support and (4) even more money could win a national primary.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
32. But isn't that what we have now?
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:41 AM
Aug 2013

Besides, I don't for a minute believe that is the way it would play out. How effective a candidate is will depend on his/her support, not some false 3-state primary process that leaves out 85% of the population.

Now, you bring up the "institutional support," which was one of the two topics. You don't think there's a problem in The Party interfering in a democratic process because I do. THE PEOPLE should choose the candidates, not a bunch of inside-the-beltway people who represent the 1%.

 

geek tragedy

(68,868 posts)
34. Joe Lieberman could have won a national primary in 2004. Howard Dean would have never been heard of.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:42 AM
Aug 2013

2008 would have been Hillary in a romp.

Etc

 

geek tragedy

(68,868 posts)
48. The entire point of primaries is to define a single political party. It is inherently partisan.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:15 PM
Aug 2013

If one disdains parties and partisanship and refuses to treat them as legitimate approaches, then one does not have standing re: primaries.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
49. No, the entire point of primaries is to determine
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:20 PM
Aug 2013

the candidate for EACH political party.

And I don't have standing now because the candidate is decided for me three months before I get to vote.

Response to geek tragedy (Reply #16)

 

geek tragedy

(68,868 posts)
35. Imagine 2004 if there had been a national primary.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:43 AM
Aug 2013

Who had a high profile, plenty of institutional connections, and access to all the corporate money he could get his hands on?

Response to geek tragedy (Reply #35)

boston bean

(36,246 posts)
26. Get rid of caucuses. Very easily manipulated.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:31 AM
Aug 2013

They aren't truly representative of a majority vote, like primaries are.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
36. That would still leave the process of
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:45 AM
Aug 2013

very few states choosing the candidates. I don't see how that is representative of anything except how voters vote in early primary states.

MineralMan

(146,413 posts)
66. We have caucuses in Minnesota, but all they can do
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:20 PM
Aug 2013

is endorse candidates for each party. There's still a primary election, where anyone can declare and run for either party. The endorsement is important, but people not endorsed still win sometimes.

BlueCheese

(2,522 posts)
75. Agree completely.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 03:56 PM
Aug 2013

They are completely undemocratic-- limited to people who can attend at a certain time and stay for a certain while. Serving in the military? Have kids? Working a shift? No representation for you! Caucuses fail the Voting Rights Act in so many ways it'll make you head swim.

Not only do we give inordinate importance to a small state like Iowa (nothing against Iowa), we give it all to a small fraction of the people living there. I seem to remember in 2008 more people voted in Washington's nonbinding primary (which served no purpose whatsoever) than participated in Washington's caucuses (which actually handed out the delegates).

The DNC should do something useful and require every state to hold a real primary election.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
30. First, don't give any more money to Pacs, give it directly to the candidate you want in your state.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:39 AM
Aug 2013

And to anyone in any other state you support. As you said, money that is controlled by the parties is used often to push candidates we do not want, and to oppose those we do. Seen it happen too often now to ever donate to anyone BUT the candidate I support.

This is definitely a subject that needs to be discussed, so thanks for bringing it up.

One thing is for sure, repeating over and over what hasn't worked, is just stupid at this point.

So something needs to change if we are to get a truly Progressive Congress.

librechik

(30,695 posts)
31. as soon as i get a couple billion dollars to buy it away from the networks etc...
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:40 AM
Aug 2013

I'll help reform the primary process by kicking commercial interests out of it. If I'm not corrupted or assassinated.

question everything

(47,834 posts)
38. Rotating regional primaries
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:49 AM
Aug 2013

Back in the 90s several secretaries of states suggested to have regional primaries but nothing came out of it. I think that they even allowed to keep Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina to go first.

Iowa and New Hampshire do not represent the country. Not by a long shot.

The grouped primaries do not even need to be geographically regional. They can be group be demographics and economics.

And, once the groups are determined, each election cycle a different group will be first.

Have four or five groups each voting once a month. Thus, if we start in March the last one will be in July or August.

 

Jim Lane

(11,175 posts)
45. Rotating regional primaries is a better solution.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:10 PM
Aug 2013

The single national primary would just be about who had the initial media coverage and the big money. There'd be no chance for lesser-known candidates to build support, as was done by such candidates as George McGovern, Jimmy Carter (1976), and Barack Obama -- none of whom would have won a single nationwide primary.

I do think it's unfair that, cycle after cycle, the same handful of states have disproportionate influence. The best solution I've seen is the rotating regional primary. For example, in one cycle the first primary might be the six New England states (all voting the same day). A week or two later, it would be a group of states in the Southeast or the Pacific Northwest or wherever. Having neighboring states vote together would make campaigning less expensive. Then, of course, in the next cycle, the order would be changed. If New England went first four years ago, then for this cycle the series might begin in the Midwest.

There would still be a disproportionate influence for the early primaries, but at least it would be spread around.

ETA: I didn't see #38 by question everything before I repeated much of that post -- I do think regional is better than some other basis for grouping because it reduces costs.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
47. I'm for anything that gives
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:13 PM
Aug 2013

more of the country an input as to who the nominees will be. The status quo isn't working for too many of us.

MineralMan

(146,413 posts)
55. The Primary Process Isn't Just for the Presidential Election.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 12:40 PM
Aug 2013

Primary elections are for every office, including state and national legislative offices. The primary process really begins at least a year ahead of the primary election. That means that the 2014 primary process is already underway. Potential candidates are making decisions whether or not to run, and those who are planning to run are already organizing their campaign resources and lining up contributors.

The Presidential election is important, of course, but it is those legislative and local elections that really make a difference, right where you live. In fact, state legislators are the primary pool where candidates for Congress are developed.

In Minnesota, where we use a combination of caucuses and primary elections, people involved in politics are already working on the 2014 election. For example, precinct and district level party members are querying people thinking about running and encouraging people to actually run. Then, once candidates have stated their intent, they begin contacting party members who are active in the caucus system to ask for support. In non-caucus states, the same principle applies to local party organizations.

It is a terrible mistake to focus mainly on the Presidential primaries. Individuals can do very little to influence those. But, for your state legislators and members of Congress, individuals can have a real impact.

2014 is just around the corner. The people who are actively participating right now will be the ones who determine who will be running in 2014 primaries.

Get involved in your local Democratic Party organization, and you can be a participant in this process. And then:

GOTV 2014!

A Little Weird

(1,754 posts)
61. The primary process seems to be corrupted for lower offices too
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:00 PM
Aug 2013

For example - there are several threads talking about the Kentucky senate race today. The ones I've read all refer to Grimes as the Democratic challenger but she has not won the primary. The three other democrats in the race might as well drop out now because she's already been anointed by the state and national democratic party. (I have nothing against her at all but I'm irritated that the voters weren't the ones to decide.)


But I think the tread was really focused on the presidential primary. I am in favor of changing the order for each election so it's not always the same few states that get to decide.

MineralMan

(146,413 posts)
64. Each state decides for itself when its Primary elections take place.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:14 PM
Aug 2013

As for the selection process in each state, that's a matter for the individual parties to figure out. But here's the deal: If you aren't part of your party organization, you don't get a say in that process. That's why I'm involved in the DFL party organization here in Minnesota. I get to participate in that process.

Party endorsements are very important in primary elections. But, anyone can run. If an un-endorsed candidate has the means and organization to get out the votes, the party endorsement doesn't necessarily dictate who wins the primary.

The key is being involved, either in party decisions or in helping an un-endorsed candidate overcome not getting that endorsement.

Involvement is activism. If you're not involved, you don't count.

A Little Weird

(1,754 posts)
71. I get what you're saying
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 02:55 PM
Aug 2013

But effectively, the party endorsement cuts out anyone who is not independently wealthy. But I guess that's who we're stuck with anyway whether they are endorsed or not.

As for involvement, I am a state employee so I am limited in what I am allowed to do. I can't serve on any committee for a political club or party, I can't canvas, I can't distribute material, I cannot help organize rallies, etc. One of the few things I'm allowed to do is vote. But voting means very little when the candidates are pre-selected.

JustABozoOnThisBus

(23,480 posts)
62. I like having the small states vote first.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:02 PM
Aug 2013

The primaries in the smaller states give all of us a chance to get to know the candidates, before the larger states tip the scales to the winner. I'd bet that if CA, NY, etc went first, Hillary would be the prez and nobody would have ever heard of Obama. She had the early money, and if CA, NY, etc, selected her, the smaller states would just be a meaningless afterthought.


One Bozo's opinion.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
63. So, instead, the smaller states get to tip the scales?
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:10 PM
Aug 2013

I'm looking for a way to include MORE people in the process, not less. The rest is just speculation with no way to determine accuracy.

And I still love your screen name. I was a HUGE Firesign Theater fan.

JustABozoOnThisBus

(23,480 posts)
68. The small states get to tip the scales a little
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:32 PM
Aug 2013

while the famous and the not-so-famous vie for approval on their positions on issues.

If someone is a huge favorite, the decision might be made early. If there are a few close frontrunners, then the small states will put them out front and the big states will come along and decide. The big states will still be favored among the candidates, and will bless the residents with mass quantities of advertising and robo-calls.

fwiw, I'm from MI. Our 2008 primary was completely screwed up, with only Hillary, Kucinich, and Gravel on the ballot. So, I voted for "uncommitted", which was my way of voting for John Edwards (this was way before he became known as "that" John Edwards). Hillary swept the MI primary, getting way more than 50%. This was an early primary in a smallish state.

I just don't want to hand out the primary victories to the nationally famous well-connected. Let them earn it by slugging it out in the small arenas first.

onenote

(43,248 posts)
65. Impractical and/or unconstitutional
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:15 PM
Aug 2013

First, the "we" that you suggest should change the system to a national primary is the "85 percent" that don't get to vote before the first primaries. From that, it would appear that you are suggesting national legislation to force all presidential primaries to be held on the same date. Such legislation almost certainly would be unconstitutional, as would legislation requiring a state to hold a primary rather than a convention or a caucus. Trying to get each state to set its own primary date at the same date as every other state would be impossible from a practical matter. There always would be a renegade state or states that would set their date earlier. Among other things, primaries generate business and if all of the primaries are on the same date, some states -- particularly the smaller ones, will simply be ignored. So they're not going to go along with it. Many states would rather be later in the process so long as they aren't "competing" with other states for attention (i.e., candidates spending money, media spending for hotels and restaurants etc).

Second, expecting candidates to pledge that they won't pull out of the race until every state has voted is a pointless exercise. The reason candidates drop out is almost always because they don't have the money to continue in the race. What is the point of a candidate staying in the race if he or she has no money to pay staff, buy ads, etc etc.

I'm not saying that the current system makes a lot of sense. Just that it is going to change from within and it can't be forced to change by law.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
69. Actually, I never proposed national legislation
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 01:36 PM
Aug 2013

nor did I propose a vehicle by which we do achieve same-day primaries. I'm proposing one overall solution to engage 100% of the voting population as opposed to a very small, non-representational portion of the country. You say a national primary would be unconstitutional but you don't say how -- under what Article?

I understand that getting all states to vote on the same day is problematic but I'm sure there's a myriad of options on how to achieve that. I'm just saying let's start a discussion.

You say "primaries generate business." Yes, in the early primary states. The states that vote later are used as nothing more than ATM's and that money goes out of state. The fact is, in states like California, the candidates/party spends very little. First off, the state is a given for Democrats. The Democrats know this as do the Republicans so there's no need to spend money here. You say that "smaller states will simply be ignored." That's what's happening to the states that are not early primary states.

I don't think anything is pointless until we've tried it. They may or may not go along but let's at least TRY. To me, a candidate stays viable if they have a presence and support in a state. If that candidate can have a presence in all 50 states, that candidate can stay in the primaries. No, they're not going to have the money to have ad-buys but they'll have feet on the ground which, ultimately, is the only thing that works.

onenote

(43,248 posts)
76. If there are a "myriad of options" I would expect someone to describe at least one
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 04:53 PM
Aug 2013

I haven't seen that. Federal legislation to create a "national" primary day has been introduced dozens of times over the years and has gone nowhere. One reason is that there are doubts about whether it would impinge on the rights granted to the states to "appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number o electors...." and grant rights to the federal government that go beyond the right to "determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States". Both of these clauses appear in Art. II, Sec. 1 and there are arguments on both sides of the issue as to whether the fact that the Constitution specifically directs that there be a single date set for choosing electors means that the steps leading up to the choosing of electors fall within the powers of the states.

The other reason that legislation to establish a national primary has failed to go anywhere is that many knowledgable people believe its a terrible idea in that it will make it more difficult for a less well known candidate to build any momentum and would favor candidates with big war chests over those trying to build a campaign with limited resources at the start.

As for the idea that its possible to have a "presence" in all 50 states while not having any money, that's simply not true. Even today, candidates don't mount 50 state campaigns over the course of staggered primaries because its too expensive. Most candidates focus on a few early states in the hope of upsetting the favorite and then building momentum. Maintaining a presence in a state takes money. Money for staff to organize, money for an office for the staff, and yes, money for advertising, because a candidate who can't get himself on TV and radio these days has zilch chance of breaking through against candidates who can dominate the airwaves.

Again, I'm open to hearing a suggestion of how states can be persuaded and/or required to hold their presidential primaries on the same date. Your state of California is an interesting case: it used to hold its primaries in June. Then it decided to move them up and hold them on Super Tuesday in February or March. Now its gone back to June.

 

stevenleser

(32,886 posts)
72. I'd have Iowa, New Hampshire, California, Vermont, Louisiana and Mississippi all go first
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 03:03 PM
Aug 2013

on the same day. Then have a two week pause and then 4 super tuesdays on consecutive weeks with the rest of the states/territories balanced out for those four weeks.

The reason I selected those states is I'd be very interested to know how a candidate would track in centrist/swing (Iowa/New Hampshire), liberal (Vermont/California) and conservative Mississippi/Alabama states. There is also a nice balance of regional states there.

Given that information plus the campaigning up to that point, I think we can all make good choices. I also think this takes some of the money issue out of it. There is not as much of a protracted primary season to have to survive.

onenote

(43,248 posts)
78. As a practical matter, how would you get this implemented?
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 04:57 PM
Aug 2013

Federal legislation? I doubt you could get a majority of either House to vote for this.
State by state legislation? Who and how is going to decide what the proper "balance" is for each Super Tuesday combination?

I'm not defending the current scheme. Just looking for some indication of how, as a practical matter, keeping in mind that we live in the real world, the desired end could be achieved.

 

stevenleser

(32,886 posts)
82. No, I am right there with you. I'm just saying that in my perfect world, that's how it would be
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 05:27 PM
Aug 2013

I don't think there is an easy way to get something like that to happen. Iowa and New Hampshire are both very jealous about guarding their privileged position and they are both technically swing states. No one wants to piss them off.

Bake

(21,977 posts)
73. YOu'd have better luck getting CA to move its primary up.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 03:45 PM
Aug 2013

But good luck.

And BTW, I agree with you!



Bake

onenote

(43,248 posts)
77. California's primary used to be June. Then it was moved up to February.
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 04:54 PM
Aug 2013

But in 2011, the state legislature moved it back to June.

brooklynite

(95,608 posts)
74. So for a national candidate, you want all the focus to be on large States...
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 03:50 PM
Aug 2013

...and for the campaign to be played out through TV ads.

The reason Iowa gets the attention that it does is that it's first in a staggered schedule, and the candidates can afford to do one on one campaigning. Put everything together and the emphasis will be in turning out the votes in the more populous States; and given the number of people you're trying to reach its going to mean a lot of TV, which means only candidates with a lot of money can participate.

 

mick063

(2,424 posts)
80. The good and the bad of a long primary season
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 05:10 PM
Aug 2013

The Bad:

Very expensive. The more expensive a long, drawn out primary season is, the more dependency upon influence peddlers.


The Good:

Gives us time to thoroughly evaluate the candidates. Allows for proper vetting. Allows time for past endeavors (think Herman Cain) to come out.


I would like to see a compromise of the time span as well as entire regions voting as a block instead of individual states. With a shortened primary season, public campaign financing is legitimately feasible.

 

stevenleser

(32,886 posts)
83. The expense of the current system goes both ways. If you win Iowa or New Hampshire, both small
Thu Aug 1, 2013, 06:27 PM
Aug 2013

states that don't require nearly the cash a larger state does to compete in, your campaign will get a big cash infusion immediately thereafter from voters all over the country who now view you as a serious candidate, no matter what the case was before that.

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