I’ve been blogging a lot about the changes to the primary schedule, and maybe I’m the only one who cares. But I think it’s fascinating that what we have on our hands is a complete failure of the prisoner’s dilemma. Every state knows that maintaining some degree of sanity in our primary system is good for American democracy, but every state also knows it can get some cheap recognition if its primary is super-duper early. And instead of being mature about it and taking the communal route, everyone’s basically grabbing for the brass ring.
The latest such sinner: Wyoming. The least populous state in the nation, Wyoming (and its three electoral votes) deserves no special attention. Regardless, Wyoming has leapfrogged Iowa and New Hampshire and has placed its primary at January 5. “We’re first in the nation,” State party County Convention Coordinator Tom Sansonetti told the AP. “At least for the next couple, three weeks until New Hampshire and Iowa move, which I expect they will.”
Exactly, you jerk. Now we’re going to have Iowa on Christmas Eve, and then Florida will move its primary to the day after Thanksgiving and old geriatrics will have a choice between shopping and voting. And then New Hampshire will choose Halloween and then South Carolina will choose Labor Day, ruining your travel plans. As Wonkette noted, “Idaho is having a primary right now, in the men’s room!”
The only good that can come of this is if these idiot state parties, state legislatures, and secretaries of state just drive the whole primary system off a cliff and it becomes so hopelessly f-ed up that the DNC and RNC have to reconstruct it from scratch. That’s the only chance for sanity here.
Previous angry coverage of the primary calendar’s shifts: regional primaries, insufficient candidate responses, South Carolina gets in on the act, someone finally pays a price.