It's Time to Change the Presidential Nomination Process:
The change from "smoke filled rooms" to putting the power in the hands of the voters was a good thing. However, a new set of dynamics has been created which hurts the process and again requires changes. States at the end of the primary schedule were becoming irrelevant. So, more and more states began "front loading" the primaries -- moving them up in the schedule. As more and more states have their primaries earlier and earlier, the race for the nomination becomes a defacto national election instead of a state by state contest as it should be.
With so many primary elections and caucuses up front, only candidates with serious reserves of cash or media attention can compete. There is no time to build momentum and use that momentum to help generate new funds. Here is how the months of January and February are laid out in 2008 for state primary elections and caucuses:
January 3 -- Iowa
January 5 -- Wyoming
January 8 -- New Hampshire
January 15 -- Michigan
January 19 -- Nevada, South Carolina
January 29 -- Florida
February 1 -- Maine
February 5 (Super Tuesday) -- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, West Virginia
February 9 -- Louisiana, Kansas
February 12 -- Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia
February 19 -- Washington, Wisconsin
That is a total of thirty-four states plus the District of Columbia which will hold their elections before March.
In addition to eliminating "front loading," something should also be done to reduce the artificially inflated importance of the results in Iowa and New Hampshire. These two states often spell doom for a candidate who doesn't get off to a fast start, yet these two states provide only a small fraction of the delegates needed to secure the nomination. No candidate's bid for the presidency should be determined by how he or she finished in one state, yet that's exactly what we see now from the media. They pronounce gloom and doom or anoint an heir apparent after one or two contests. That is not fair and not right.
So, what can be done about it? A number of proposals have been floated by various Republican activists and party leaders.
Go read the whole thing to learn about the different plans being proposed.
On a side note, the nominees will have already been decided before I have a chance to make my voice heard. Texas' primary isn't until March.