Saturday, August 11, 2007


Back in mid-January, I wrote a posting for this blog championing the idea of five regional presidential preference primaries (or caucuses, should individual states favour that idea), to eliminate the childish "frontloading" that we are seeing states do to make their event first in the nation, or close to it. There are other key advantages to such an idea, and I would suggest reading the post.

It was therefore good to read that Wednesday, former governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham came out in a New York Times op-ed piece in favour of the idea.

Some have wryly suggested a political version of “American Idol,” with voters sizing up candidates from living rooms across the nation and eliminating one candidate per week until the party nominee is chosen. I think the better analogy is college football’s Bowl Championship Series, which rotates the title game from year to year among the traditional bowl games.

A series of five regional primaries, spaced three weeks apart and rotated every four years, would give voters from Miami to Maui to Manchester opportunities to be first in the nation. Candidates could spend more time with citizens of neighboring states and less time on coast-to-coast flights. Because the primaries would be stretched out over three months rather than three weeks, reporters and other political scorekeepers could not rush to declare a national winner.

Regional primaries are not as intimate as living rooms in Cedar Rapids and Portsmouth. But they might accomplish what the 2008 primary season probably will not: a comprehensive and meticulous screening of the men and women who would be president.

Senator Graham is one of the most intellegent individuals that has graced the Florida or national political scene. If he sees the obvious advantages in a rotating regional primary/caucus system, it can't be bad.


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