If being representative is your goal, Illinois should be the first primary state

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

If being representative is your goal, Illinois should be the first primary state.

On Monday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus suggested that Iowa and New Hampshire’s place at the front of the primary election line is by no means set in stone, and that, in the future, other states may very well be kicked ahead in line. To which I say great, of course, given my established antipathy to two of the least-representative states in the nation playing such a critical role in weeding out presidential candidates. The GOP chairman told the National Journal that when it comes to New Hampshire and Iowa, he doesn’t “think there should ever be any sacred cows as to the primary process or the order.” “It’s a hot topic. But prompted by the New York Times’s Nick Confessore and the Atlantic’s David Graham, I was inspired to look at the demographic composition of the states as a guide to figuring out which actually matched the United States most closely. If you look at my history, I’ve been very supportive of the early states as general counsel and as chairman, but I don`t think anyone should get too comfortable.” Iowa GOP analysts say we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. “I think we`re a long ways from tearing up the script and starting over, but it is something we need to be mindful of,” says Craig Robinson with TheIowaRepublican.com. “We give an opportunity to long shot candidates to see if they can put together and compete on the main level, we give an equal opportunity to everyone in the race, not just those with money and I think we would miss that.

Using a big index of census data, I compared each state’s density of racial populations, education, housing status, age groups and a few other metrics and arrived at a simple answer to the question of where the first primary should be held. Priebus pointed to several plans that had been offered up as alternatives in recent years: a “random lottery” that would divide the states into five primary dates with 10 voting at a time, or a “rotating primary process in which “you would divide the country into five quadrants and have a primary about once every two weeks.” Both the Republican and Democratic state parties issued statements responding to the comments, vowing to protect New Hampshire’s status in years to come. New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner told WMUR.com that try as political parties might, state law would prevail over the timing of primaries. “We have a law dating back to 1975 and as I have said over the years, this primary won’t be taken away from us by external forces,” Gardner said. “It will only change when the will of the people want it to change, and that’s pretty unlikely.” Indeed, New Hampshire state law says the primary shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or a date “7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election, whichever is earlier.” For his part, Priebus said he understood the difficulty of displacing early voting states, but was interested in changes to make the process more competitive. They seemed, in her view, to reference the kind of conversations that routinely take place every four years leading up to the party’s convention about the rules moving forward.

The downfall of the Iowa Straw Poll this year was an early indication that the state’s prominence could be eroding, and Republican leaders there have openly groused about the lack of attention they have received from high-profile candidates such as former Gov. He is simply stating and responding to questions about the process and how it works and how it unfolds.” “When I saw it on Twitter this morning, I almost fell off my chair,” said Terry Shumaker, who serves on a commission to celebrate the 2016 centennial of the New Hampshire primary and previously represented the state on the Democratic National Committee. Multiply by a weighting factor (to make some traits more important than others) and add up the score. (For overall population, we compared population to the average of all states.) On a scale where the lowest value wins, Illinois had a lower combined score than any other.

Ayotte is up for reelection in 2016. “New Hampshire has earned its place as the First-in-the-Nation presidential primary state because our voters are sophisticated and take their role in the nomination process seriously,” she said. “The entire nation benefits when candidates are forced to answer the concerns of voters face-to-face in living rooms and backyards across New Hampshire.” Horn then blamed New Hampshire’s Democratic seantor and governor—Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, respectively—for trying to “rig New Hampshire’s presidential primary with early endorsements of Hillary Clinton, despite strong grassroots support for Bernie Sanders.” Priebus said that he anticipated any changes in future election cycles would look to regionalize or nationalize the process rather than focus on individual states.

As previously reported by the Monitor, Shumaker and Shaheen didn’t take issue with the plans to include the other states – but they did object to the plans to put them in front of New Hampshire. To get around the Granite State, however, the national parties or other states vying for the first slot would likely find their plans complicated by New Hampshire law. If you are concerned only about matching the black and white population densities, the most representative state is still Illinois, followed by Texas.

That’s what it’s about, and that’s what it will continue to be about,” Gardner said. “And as long as it remains that way the people of this state will want to keep it, and it will go on.” The secretary needn’t look far around his office for reminders of those past moments when the primary status was called into question. Both have undergone very politically convenient transformations on this issue, yes, but perhaps if anything they should be given credit for wanting to shake up the process before they decided they wanted to be a part of it an run for president — doing what Priebus is today. In the scene, a dejected-looking Pluto, the former planet, is shown sitting at a bar with a personified New Hampshire – the state proudly sporting a “First In The Nation” label on its chest. Just tell ‘em you’re gonna go ahead and be a planet anyway!” “At that point, they were saying, ‘Oh, New Hampshire doesn’t matter anymore,’” Gardner recalled, explaining the context for the cartoon. “So New Hampshire overcame that, and now Pluto was faced with this.”

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