Monday, August 21, 2006

The Need to Be First 

It is interesting to see the Democrats addressing the imbalance in state primaries for presidential candidates. It has never made sense that the smaller states of the Union have the largest impact on who gets nominated for the presidency. The addition of Nevada and South Carolina barely address the imbalance, but it's a start.

What struck me about the decision was New Hampshire's reaction. The state is howling mad to be losing its primacy and threatens to break ranks. The power of perception is strong indeed. If primaries were proportionate to population, then California, Florida and Texas might be first, and candidates would better reflect the attitude of the country. On the other hand, campaigning in these states is so expensive that fledging candidates would easily go broke before breaking through to public attention.

It's an interesting exercise in politics and public perception to add Nevada and South Carolina. Both are small but Las Vegas is the fastest growing town in the US, and South Carolina is the deep South, a region the Democrats badly want back. The question is whether the public will go along with the change. New Hampshire is hoping they won't.


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