Q&A Friday #58: Moving The Primary Schedule Up

Question: “What are your thoughts on the new primary schedule, and which candidates (on either side) do you think it will help or hurt?” — Mike_M

Answer: There have been a number of big states that have moved their primary dates up. Here’s a tentative schedule:

2008

Jan. 14: Iowa caucuses
Jan. 19: Nevada Democratic caucuses; Republicans are undecided
Jan. 22: New Hampshire
Jan. 29: South Carolina and possibly Florida
Feb. 5: Alabama, Arkansas, Utah and West Virginia; considering a move to this date: Florida, Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey and New Mexico

Having all these big states move their primaries up really hurts the process for a number of reasons.

#1) Because the primaries are so heavily front loaded, the race is going to be over 3 weeks after it starts. After the Feb 5 votes, it’s game over.

#2) Since these big states have huge, expensive media markets, fund raising will become more important. That means the front runners are given an even bigger advantage over the rest of the pack and the candidates will have to spend even more time hustling for money.

#3) On a related note, because it will be so difficult to raise the money to campaign in all these big states, the big name candidates will have an advantage. That means the front runners are again, given an extra boost and it’s also why the primary campaigning seems to already be in full swing in Jan of 2007. What else can they do when it will be all over but the crying by Feb 5, 2008?

Long story short: The political process would be better served if these big states didn’t move their primaries up.

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