The Case For A National Primary
Hey, did you know we're picking our President in about a week?
Well, probably not you. You most likely don't have a say in the process. But a bunch of people in Iowa are picking the President for you. (Note: There are some people who would say that no actual citizen chooses the President. That He or She is selected by a Global Elite to better serve the interests of the Conglomeration of Doom. For the purposes of this post, we're gonna pretend Democracy exists.)
But wait! You live in Florida, New York, California, Texas, or one of the other non-Iowa states. Your state has a lot more people in it than Iowa. Surely your state should have a say.
On January 3rd, Iowa will hold their caucuses, and a winner will be announced in each party. It will then be nearly impossible for anyone else to overtake them. Why?
Americans are a bunch of pack animals.
Think back to 2004. Just before Iowa held their caucuses. Remember who was leading in most National polls for the Democratic nomination? Howard Dean. Know who was running in the back, pretty much given up for good? John Kerry. Know who was even farther back, practically ignored? John Edwards.
But John Kerry and John Edwards cleaned up in Iowa. Dean was tossed down into third place. Richard Gephart was completely crushed. With his Iowa momentum in hand, Kerry went on to win big in New Hampshire and the race was over. John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for President.
And we all know how that worked out for the Democrats.
Thing is, going into Iowa, he wasn't really on the radar. So what happened? Easy. He won. The rest of the nation said something like, "Wow. Iowa picked Kerry. He spent a lot of time down there. They must know something we don't. I'm gonna vote for him, too." or perhaps, "Well, it's going to be Kerry, so I may as well vote for him and get this primary over with so we can start bashing Bush instead of other Democrats."
So a bunch of Iowans got to choose the Democratic nominee, screw the rest of the country.
This year will be no different. Right now, if you look at the national polls, the Democratic nominee ought to be Clinton, and the Republican nominee is a bit of a toss-up between Giuliani and Huckabee.
Watch what happens after Iowa.
On the Republican side, Giuliani isn't even expected to do well at all. Maybe not even third. See if he's anywhere near the lead on January 4th in the national polls. As for Clinton, well if Obama or even Edwards knocks her off (right now, the three of them all have a shot), then watch her lead shrink faster than Bill's libido under Her icy gaze. Just like that, the race will crystallize and we'll have our nominees.
You think I'm wrong? No other state matters anymore. None. Giuliani made the mistake of thinking he could skip out of Iowa (and the next contest, New Hampshire) and still have a shot. He's an idiot. He's toast. Romney gets it, and has put all of his eggs in the Iowa basket. Until Huckabee's rise, it was a smart move on Romney's part. But now that Huckabee's gathered the Evangelical Vote around him, he's gonna beat Romney in Iowa, and that will permanently damage Romney's chances.
Edwards also got it, and put all his eggs in this basket. If he pulls it out, he's got a chance. If not, he'll drop out in the blink of an eye and his supporters will gravitate to Obama. If Obama has won Iowa, then he'll pull off one of the biggest upsets in political history by knocking off Hillary Clinton. If Clinton pulls Iowa out of her hat, then the Democratic race is truly over.
Is this a good thing? Years ago, perhaps it made some sense. Candidates couldn't get their message out to everyone at once, so they focuses on small places- Iowa, New Hampshire- to really talk to the voters and give them a chance to see the candidates for who they really are. Or at least, who they have really tried to be. But today, with the Internet and 24-hour cable news, everything a candidate says or does is transmitted across the country in a heartbeat. We know these people. We know who they are, what they want, what they say. The information is out there and easy to get. We don't need a bunch of Middle-America Folks telling us who made the best impression on the Butter Princess at the State Fair. Who gives a flying crap if Fred Thompson spurned the Butter Princess? That says nothing about Fred Thompson the possible President of the United States. It simply tells us that Fred Thompson isn't very good at RUNNING for President. (But then, if you've been paying attention, you knew that.)
Did Barack Obama pet the prize pig? Did John McCain smile when he shook the hand of the farmer with the biggest pumpkin? What does that have to do with running the United States of America? You know what you get when you focus on electing someone who makes everyone laugh and seems like a regular guy? You get bad government.
So let's take this national. Let the candidates make their case to their parties all at once. Debates all over the country. Appearances in big cities as well as small. Anything they say will be broadcast into your home if you're in Alaska or Arkansas. If you really care about the primaries, you'll have all the information you need. No matter where you live.
And then we can all vote. And we can see that while the 20,000 caucus-goers in Iowa decided that they really liked Huckabee's down-home charm, the rest of the country's Republicans went for the leadership of John McCain or the moderation of Rudy Giuliani. Because maybe those guys represent a larger share of Republicans than the Baptist Minister who lost 100 pounds. (Damn, Huckabee sounds like a fluff piece from People magazine, doesn't he?)
I live in one of the zillions of states voting on February 5th. A big state. One of the biggest. All the big states vote on that day. Most of the population of America will be voting on Feb. 5th. And it won't matter, because our choices will have been made for us. Kucinich will have pulled out a surprise win in Iowa because of his great take on Ethanol subsidies and the Sheep of our Nation will have fallen in line behind him.
Screw Iowa. Screw New Hampshire (supposedly the "brain" to the "heart" of Iowa in this process).
We're selecting national leaders, it should be done by the nation.