For policy wonks like me, nights like tonight are like crack. Addictive, non-nutritive, and resulting in a bad morning after. But I’ve still been glued to CNN since I got home at 5:30 PM (I’ll switch to MSNBC when the roommate comes home, since she can’t stand the Wolf), and I may just stay up until 11 to wait for the California polls to close.
Oooh, hi Anderson Cooper! It’s me! I was three rows behind you at the Kathy Griffin show last week. You’re smaller in person than I thought you’d be. Do you have a cold? Poor baby.
Anyway, back to the primaries. This has been going on since January 3, I believe. But really since last summer. It has to stop. We’re all so excited to get someone, anyone in office to replace the current inhabitants, but you know what? There’s still a president in office, and he’s still screwing things up. He’s got an entire year left to continue making horrible choices regarding the war, the environment, health care, education. A full quarter of this term is left, but people are being distracted by the election for the next president. And as much as I love this, I don’t think it’s good, the way it is now. Something needs to be done to stop the endless campaigning. Something also needs to be done to get the media to focus on issues, but that’s for another post…
For now, I choose to blame Iowa and New Hampshire. These states insist (demand) that they go first. Because otherwise, they’d only be known for government buy-outs of surplus corn that screw up the developing world and license plates that some find offensive, respectively. I get it – the big states get all the glory, and the only way for the smaller ones to get in on the action is to go first. But I have a solution.
Now, this is just the rough draft, so feel free to offer up suggestions.
Every four years, the primaries (the voting, at least) lasts for just five Saturdays in a row. These Saturdays are in mid April-early May (ending the Saturday before Memorial Day Weekend), thus hopefully avoiding issues of severe weather. Each Saturday, only 10 states hold their primaries/caucuses. They are the same for the Republicans and the Democrats, and they are chosen randomly, by either a computer or the President. It could even be a big event, like the draft lottery, minus the fear of death.
Now, you have two options: either the order becomes static, so in 2012, it would be Group A, B, C, D and E, then in 2016 it would be Group B, C, D, E and A, etc.; or you re-draw every four years. And the non-state states, like Puerto Rico, American Samoa and Guam would be spread out evenly among the five Saturdays. The polls would open later (let’s say 9 or 10 AM), and close much later to account both for those who work in non-traditional jobs and those who are observant Jews who wouldn’t be able to go out to vote until after sunset.
While some states would still be less than relevant, there would be no guarantees of which ones those would be. And that’s key, I think.
I’m a huge fan of the first amendment, so I can’t see myself supporting a law limiting when people can campaign, but I would LOVE to see all parties agree to campaigning limits, and have a campaign blackout the week leading up to election day – which would switch to a Wednesday, and be a holiday.
Man, when I’m Queen, things are going to be so much easier. Of course, we won’t have to deal with this silly primary business in the same way, since the President will be little more than a figurehead . . .