Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Primary colors

Census regions and divisions
The Census Bureau has already divided America into regions and divisions. Might these boundaries help the parties organize — and rotate — regional primaries?

Now that primary season is over, it's time to draw and quarter the political rules that make a mockery of America's system for selecting each major party's presidential nominee. Herewith four rules that should change before the 2012 primary:

Iowa caucuses
Caucuses must die. What a hideous way to choose candidates. All-day commitments. No privacy in voting. No absentee balloting. Rabid partisans are far more likely to attend than normal voters, especially those with families than jobs. Eliminate caucuses; rely exclusively on primaries.
So must superdelegates. Pledged delegates to the convention are democratic. Superdelegates are not. Either let people vote, or dispense with the pretense. I prefer democracy; it's a great American tradition. Fire the superdelegates and have nothing but pledged delegates.
Play primary roulette
Play primary roulette. It's ludicrous to let the same two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, set the table and eliminate weaker candidates every presidential cycle. We can sort states by region and let the regions take turns going first. And let's time primaries sensibly. There's no reason to devote six weeks to one state, and then rush to four others in the next week.
Share fairly, but not stupidly. It has become clear that neither winner-take-all nor proportional representation is a good way to allocate delegates. How about proportional representation for the lion's share of delegates in any state (75 percent?), plus a winner-take-all bonus awarding the remaining delegates to the winner of the state as a whole?


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