5.20.2007

Wisconsin's Primary Quandary

To move or not to move?

There's a slim possibility that the Badger State might have more influence if the February 5, 2008 uberprimary doesn't produce conclusive results:

And if the early primaries and caucuses don't produce a clear front-runner, Wisconsin could be in a strong position to name the eventual nominees, he said. "If that happens, we are geniuses to keep our primary where it is," Franklin said.

But that prospect seems highly unlikely.

I'm all for federalism. It's great to have states making independent choices, flexing their 10th Amendment rights.

Yet frontloading the presidential primaries - with talk of bumping some into late 2007 - is getting out of hand. Perhaps the amazingly early start to this election cycle is an anomaly, but I doubt it. The unreasonable campaign duration will sour even more people on the political process. Candidates will wilt. Or wither Tippecanoe-style. And the major political parties appear incapable of halting the leapfrogging.

Short term, I support moving Wisconsin's primary to "Super Duper Tuesday" on February 5. For the time being, we should engage the market, vote concurrently with most major electoral powerhouse states, and attempt to have a smidgeon of influence.

I wonder, though, if it's possible to federally bar states from holding primaries before the actual year of the presidential election. It's the presidential race of 2008. Having primary debates 9 months in advance is ridiculous enough.

Constitutionally, the 24th Amendment mentions the right to vote in presidential primaries, the 12th sticks to the general election, and there's little else since state presidential primaries didn't emerge until 1910 in Oregon. January 1 should be a line in the sand.