As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"California will matter!"

I remember this refrain over and over again from everyone who demanded that California move up its Presidential primary to February 5. The most populous state should have a say in the nomination, everyone said. The candidates will have to start talking about "California issues," they said.

Chris Bowers has a post showing the number of public appearances made by all of the Presidential candidates thus far this year.

Iowa: 1,240
New Hampshire: 571
South Carolina: 268
California: 238
D.C.: 174
Florida: 146
Nevada: 111
New York: 103
Texas: 93
Illinois: 73
Michigan: 55
Virginia: 38
Georgia: 37
Pennsylvania: 37
Massachusetts: 36

There have been more trips to Iowa and New Hampshire than to every other state and territory combined. And I wish Courage Campaign was still doing their ATM Watch, because they would clearly see, as Bowers mentions...

...looking at upcoming events in California, one can see that over 60% of all scheduled appearances in the state are fundraisers, and virtually every non-fundraiser campaign appearance in the state is accompanied with a fundraiser.

When California moved up their primary, I was adamant in saying that this move would do nothing but enhance the power of Iowa and New Hampshire. And that's exactly what's happening. By putting this giant electoral prize on February 5, close to the early states, you make it imperative for candidates to be in front early to have any chance to win the nomination. Any strategy to tread water until Super Tuesday will fail, and by the looks of the appearance schedule all of the candidates know it.

Furthermore, this June primary with no Presidential race and no statewide candidates on the ballot will almost surely have a very low turnout, and Republican dirty tricksters are falling all over each other to take advantage of that, with the electoral college split and other nefarious initiatives. Was it worth it? Did everyone get what they wanted?

The only way to change the primary system is to actually change the system, with a complete overhaul. Change the way California practiced it was pointless, debilitating to democracy (a nine-month general election campaign will not be beneficial to anyone), and dangerous for the future of the state if some of those pernicious ballot measures squeak by.

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