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Author Topic: My proposal for improving the Presidential primary process!  (Read 3454 times)
bhouston79
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« on: December 07, 2008, 10:33:55 pm »
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Many have criticized our current frontloaded primary system for various reasons.  First, many ask why the citizens of New Hampshire and Iowa should get to have such a disproportionate influence over who gets to be our president.  Isn't this system unfair to the 99% of U.S. citizens who live in the other 48 states?  This criticism is further bolstered by the fact that New Hampshire and Iowa are hardly representative of the broad diversity of citizens that live in this nation.  In order to blunt this disproportionate influence, other states have moved their primaries or caucuses closer to New Hampshire.  Although the 2008 Democratic primary is a very notable exception, this front loaded system will typically result in the both parties' nominations being wrapped up on Super Tuesday, and as a result the citizens of states voting after Super Tuesday will often have very little influence on who wins the election.

Despite all of these valid criticisms, there are certainly some positive aspects of our current system that would likely be damaged by a straight up regional primary.  Our current system does allow for retail politics, in which candidates get away from their handlers and meet voters one-on-one.  If we had a regional primary, retail politics would not be very practical since the primary would become much more like a general election campaign covering millions of voters who must be reached.  Our current system also allows candidates with less funding and less name recognition to have a fighting chance.  In contrast, a regional primary where upstart candidates with little name recognition and little funding would be forced to run in 12 or 13 different states at once would greatly favor establishment candidates.

So I have a solution, which I believe solves all of these problems.  First, I would break the primaries down by Congressional districts rather than by states.  Then I would divide each of the 435 Congressional Districts and the District of Columbia into 4 different regions:  East, South, Midwest, and West.  The regional groupings would be as follows:

East: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

South: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Guam.

There would be four regional primaries:  one on the first Tuesday in March, one on the first Tuesday in April, one on the first Tuesday in May, and one on the first Tuesday in June.  The regions would alternate, so that no particular region always gets first in nation status.  However, my proposal doesn't end there.

On the third Tuesday in July of the year preceding the election year, three Congressional Districts will be randomly selected from the region scheduled to vote in March the following year.  One of these Congressional Districts will be designated as the first in nation primary, and this Congressional District will vote on the third Tuesday in January.  The second Congressional District chosen will vote on the first Tuesday in February, and the third Congressional District chosen will vote on the third Tuesday in February.  Two weeks later, the remaining Congressional districts in that region will vote.  The remaining regions will then vote in succession in the following three months until the primary process is complete. 

This set up would avoid the pitfalls of our current system, which allows the same two states with populations that are not very representative of the rest of our nation to have a disproportionate influence.  But it also preserves some of the better aspects of our current system such as retail politics and affording upstart candidates with little money and little name recognition an opportunity to compete by pulling off upsets in the early Congressional District primaries and gaining significant name recognition prior to the larger regional primaries.

It also provides for the interesting possibility that candidates from both political parties may be forced to campaign in areas that they would ordinarily avoid.  For example, it is entirely possible that an inner-city Congressional District could be chosen, which would make for an interesting Republican primary.  Similarly, a rural Republican stronghold could be selected, which would make things interesting interesting for the Democratic candidates.

So what do you all think of this suggestion?
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jimrtex
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2008, 03:35:03 am »
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I think that politicians would somewhat ignore the single CD elections, and focus on 1st regional primary.  They aren't going to get that much of a boost out of one CD.

So an alternate version, divide the country into 4 regions, and then subdivide those further into 3 sub-regions.  Each sub-region would have 13 clusters of 2 or (mostly 3) CD's.

Northeast Region:

New England, Upstate New York:

(1) ME 2
(1) NH 2, VT 1
(4) MA 3,3,2,2
(1) RI 2
(2) CT 3,2
(4) NY 3,3,3,3

New York City-Philadelphia:

(6) NY 3,3,3,3,3,2
(5) NJ 3,3,3,2,2
(2) PA 3,3

Mid Atlantic:

(5) PA 3,3,3,2,2
(1) DE 1, MD 2
(2) MD 3,3
(1) WV 3
(1) DC 1, VA 2
(3) VA 3,3,3

Southeast Region:

South Atlantic:

(4) NC 3,3,3,3
(1) NC 1, GA 1
(2) SC 3,3
(4) GA 3,3,3,3
(2) FL 3,2

Florida, Gulf Coast:

(7) FL 3,3,3,3,3,3,2
(2) AL 3,3
(1) AL 1, MS 1
(1) MS 3
(2) LA 3,3

Texas, Arkansas:

(1) LA 1, AR 1
(1) AR 3
(11) TX 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,2

Midwest:

Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky

(6) OH 3,3,3,3,3,3
(2) KY 3,3
(3) TN 3,3,3
(2) IN 3,3

Illinois, Michigan

(7) IL 3,3,3,3,3,3,2
(5) MI 3,3,3,3,3
(1) IN 3

West North Central

(4) MO 3,2,2,2
(3) WI 3,3,2
(3) MN 3,3,2
(1) ND 1, SD 1
(2) IA 3,2

West

Mountains, Plains

(1) NE 3
(1) KS 3
(1) KS 1, OK 2
(1) OK 3
(1) NM 3
(3) CO 3,2,2
(1) WY 1, MT 1
(1) UT 3
(3) AZ 3,3,2

Northwest

(1) NV 3
(1) ID 2
(3) WA 3,3,3
(2) OR 3,2
(1) HI 2, AK 1
(5) CA 3,3,3,3,3

California

(13) 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,2

Schedule:

Each region has one election per month, with each region having a random week within the month.

January.  One cluster from each region, drawn randomly.

February: Two clusters from each region (from two subregions not used in January).

March: Three clusters from each region (one from each subregion).

At this point there are 11 clusters remaining in each subregion.  Re-aggregate the remaining CDs in each subregion (typically 30 to 33), and divide into 3 superclusters of 10 or 11 CDs.

April: Three superclusters from each region, one from each subregion.

May: Three superclusters from each region, one from each subregion.

June: Three superclusters from each region, one from each subregion.

So each week in January would have 2 to 3 CDs; in February 5 or 6; in March, 8 or 9;  In April through June from 30 to 33.
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bhouston79
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2008, 07:29:15 am »
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I think that politicians would somewhat ignore the single CD elections, and focus on 1st regional primary.  They aren't going to get that much of a boost out of one CD.

So an alternate version, divide the country into 4 regions, and then subdivide those further into 3 sub-regions.  Each sub-region would have 13 clusters of 2 or (mostly 3) CD's. . . .

Schedule:

Each region has one election per month, with each region having a random week within the month.

January.  One cluster from each region, drawn randomly.

February: Two clusters from each region (from two subregions not used in January).

March: Three clusters from each region (one from each subregion).

At this point there are 11 clusters remaining in each subregion.  Re-aggregate the remaining CDs in each subregion (typically 30 to 33), and divide into 3 superclusters of 10 or 11 CDs.

April: Three superclusters from each region, one from each subregion.

May: Three superclusters from each region, one from each subregion.

June: Three superclusters from each region, one from each subregion.

So each week in January would have 2 to 3 CDs; in February 5 or 6; in March, 8 or 9;  In April through June from 30 to 33.

That's an interesting suggestion, and you may be right about using 2 or 3 Congressional Districts rather than just one.  As long as we can somehow keep the retail aspect of Presidential primaries while at the same time allowing said retail politics to occur in parts of this nation other than Iowa and New Hampshire for a change.
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Franzl
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2008, 08:16:56 am »
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Forgive my ignorance....but what would be the problem with a same-day primary for alle states....like in the GE?
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Хahar
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2008, 05:49:18 pm »
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It's too obvious.
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defe07
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 12:49:01 pm »
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After days of thinking over, I've come up with my plan. It uses California as the ceiling as to how many states with Electoral Votes no more than those of the largest state, which is California in this case. Here's how it would work:

1)   CA (55)
2)   WA, OR, HI, AK, NV, AZ, UT, ID, WY, MT (55)
3)   CO, NM, TX, OK (55)
4)   KS, NE, SD, ND, MN, WI, IA, MO (55)
5)   MS, LA, AR, TN, KY (40)
6)   ME, NH, VT, RI, CT, NJ, DE (52)
7)   NY, PA (52)
Cool   MD, WV, NC, VA, SC, DC (54)
9)   GA, FL, AL (51)
10)   IL, IN (32)
11)   OH, MI (37)

Of course, there would be no specific order. This plan would have to be re-adjusted every 10 years, just like the census. This proposal would have 11 primary/caucus weeks, hopefully with a 1 week spread in between them.

For example:

1st week in Jan
3rd week in Jan
5th week in Jan
2nd week in Feb
4th week in Feb
1st week in Mar
3rd week in Mar
5th week in Mar
2nd week in Apr
4th week in Apr
1st week in May
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A proud Floridian moderate libertarian that believes in small government.
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