General Question

emilyrose's avatar

Anyone else think that the US needs to change the primary system so it happens only on one day across the whole country?

Asked by emilyrose (2269points) May 8th, 2008

It seems like hat would take care of all the media crap that happens, and also allow every state the chance to have their votes count, and not lend a special significance to people from NH etc. I lived in NH for many years and they have weird politics there. Why should we care how that dinky weird place votes anyway? Do it all in one day and lose the hype!

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16 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Absolutely. I would also like the entire process to be condensed to 90 days. This two year campaign thing is bullshit. I guess I would love the current system if I worked for media selling ads.

soundedfury's avatar

Not at all. An extended process is better for us, as we learn more about the candidates, their views and their vices over time. Would you marry someone after a first date?

phoenyx's avatar

Out of curiosity, what are “weird politics” and what are normal politics?

emilyrose's avatar

i think we could still have an extended process, maybe with a certain # of required debates throughout the country, but still have just one actual voting day.

“weird” politics: live free or die, libertarians, nh overall is kind of behind the times, ie they dont even have recycling programs set up everywhere….. Having lived there, its not a place i would trust to set the tone for the rest of the country…....the demograhic is not reflective of america at all. its one of the whitest states in the country…..

sure you cant really say weird vs normal, i live in san francisco so everything is different here in our little progressive bubble…

i have just seen over the past few elections how the media stuff gets out of control and we focus on the most ridiculous stuff like rev wright…. not that big of a deal!!

NeroCorvo's avatar

While it would make the process far less painful for those who do not follow politics I think that it does allow the public to evaluate the candidates better.

skfinkel's avatar

What?! and lose the two years of creative TV, commentators, poll taking, and suspense? Watching our candidates duke it out? How could we function? What would we have to talk about?

reed's avatar

The presumption in any functioning democracy, indeed it’s underpinnings, is that the populace has the wisdom to make appropriate choices. Sadly, wisdom is sorely lacking in America today and therefore the populace, along with a dysfunctional, incompetent media, takes an inordinate amount of time to make up their minds. So a protracted, idiotic primary cycle is required. Even with this fact, there is still chaos which doesn’t bode well for the future. But the most disturbing reality is that in a country of 300 million people, Clinton, Obama, and McCain is the best we can do?

phoenyx's avatar

Would the results of that kind of voting be the kind of results that we want?

Campaigning on a national level would take a lot more money than campaigning in a few initial states (and then getting campaign contributions to keep going). I think it would favor candidates with name recognition, lots of special interest ties, and established political machines. The candidates wouldn’t have to pound the pavement and get out and actually shake hands with people and talk to them face-to-face. Doing that in any one state would be a waste of time and resources. They’d want to run lots of negative ads against their opponents.

If it were done as you suggest we’d probably have Giuliani vs. Clinton right now.

emilyrose's avatar

i’m not sure what the answer is, but it doesnt seem to be working right now. i also think they should get rid of the whole super-delegate thing. i think its ridiculous to make one person’s vote so valued. it seems like a lot of that is bases on alliances and it seems antiquated to me. and just as an aside, even my most intelligent, politically involved friends had never even HEARD of super delegates until this year. in the past they didn’t seem to matter as much since the primaries weren’t as close… who knows. something has to change. any brilliant ideas, anyone?

soundedfury's avatar

I think the burden is on you to prove that it’s not working. I think the primary system works fairly well. It ensures that state issues are addressed, while giving all candidates an equal chance to make their views known. Rather than talk about a few issues that are national in scope, they have to address a much wider range of issues, from the price of dairy to the EPA’s involvement in the logging industry to questions of intellectual property and net neutrality.

A short and mostly national system means that only 2 things would ever be addressed: war and the economy. If there isn’t a war raging, you can insert the social issue du jour. These are the only truly national issues.

Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not working.

soundedfury's avatar

Also, to answer your question as to whether we should care “how that dinky weird place votes anyway,” this nation is widely disparate and diverse. We are a nation of small towns and large cities, farms and factories, GEDs and PhDs. Our government not only should reflect that, it must address the needs of this wide ranging electorate. To argue that small states (or any subgroup) doesn’t deserve to have a voice is not only wrong, it’s dangerous and goes against the idea that we’ve been striving towards since 1787.

emilyrose's avatar

hey sound, some good points there. the problem i see, and a lot of this is due to the media so we need some reform there as well, is that the media, and subsequently, a majority of the electorate get stuck on issues that don’t really matter, like some negative things one person (wright) might have said, or one little mess up (the howard dean scream) and it becomes this huge big deal and something people consider when they vote. unfortunately a lot of people don’t actually know a lot about where the candidates actually stand on all of the important issues you brought up.

i think if there were a system that required candidates to visit places around the country, thereby addressing farms in one place, coal in another, war in another, etc, the voters would still get to learn about the candidates and issues that mattered closer to home. i think the main problem is that as the whole race is drawn out over time, the imporant issues aren’t what’s being talked about, and people vote based on what’s happening in the media, what the state a week before them did, etc. i just think that having a primary system, where the early states have a lot of sway, isn’t really fair. it makes it seem as if those states are more important because they end up being more influential. why should NH matter more than MT or SD? The fact that these states rarely even get to vote in a primary is kinda screwed up, don’t you think? I’ve been lucky to always live in an early voting state, NY, NH, CA, but I think I’d be upset if I never got the opportunity, and I think it’s kind of ridiculous to say that the people have chosen that candidate when thousands of people don’t even get to have their vote counted!

soundedfury's avatar

I think that there are two difficulties you bring up. One is of representation and one is of discourse.

The first thing to remember is that, regardless of what is being said, we don’t live in democracy. We live in a republic, in which we have people who represent our interests rather than each person having a say in all decisions. You can see this being mirrored in our primary process. I may not necessarily get a chance to speak or vote when the issues that matter to me are being discussed, but at least I am confident that part of the process represents my ideas. The issues that were being discussed in Wisconsin during the lead-up to the primary were not the issues that I am most concerned with. I live in mostly rural, mostly blue-collar state where my specific concerns – that of a white, 30-year-old technologist – are not in line with the rest of the state. I am interested in and sensitive to the things that impact dairy and manufacturing, but they are not my principal concerns. But I know that somewhere in the process, my values and concerns are being addressed because of its diverse nature.

I don’t think the process says that MT or SD matter less than NH. I think that it says that the sum of the total issues that need to be addressed are more important than any individual or state.

When it comes to discourse, I agree that the way things are told are more in favor of making a good story than trying to find political truth. But I disagree that process has to be altered because we’re at a stage in which our discourse is juvenile. Which is why I’m so angry at the changes to the primary season this year. Several states moved their primaries closer to the beginning of the season. This had the adverse effect of weakening the entire process. It meant that big chunks of states were making decisions on their candidates before the primary process had the chance to force them to show their true colors or to answer tough questions. I think you’d find that the delegate count would be very different if all the primaries were redone today rather than 6 months ago.

That said, it’s not like this primary season has been particularly brutal or long. The 1992 election season was much worse with Bill Clinton not wrapping up the nomination until the summer. Plus, that one was much more acrimonious. It’s just closer this time than usual, which has people on edge.

gooch's avatar

Yes one day sounds great. Just think of the money that would be saved.

indicatebound's avatar

I say ditch primaries altogether. Just have an election in which the electorate chooses between all the candidates. Then have a run-off between the top two (if no one gets above 50%).

ETpro's avatar

Yes, I think that would be a good move. I was just going to ask this after seeing that 5 other states are threatening to leapfrog Florida if that state moves up its primary date so states like Iowa and New Hampshire (representing just a tiny portion of the electorate) don’t have undue influence. But a search turned up yorr question.


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