2008 elections: which state deserves the boost?

(cross-posted at Deny My Freedom)

There has been so much going in recent days - and on issues of fairly great importance - that I'm not too surprised that I haven't read anything around the blogosphere regarding an issue that will have an impact on the Democratic Party's nomination process. In a story that slipped under the radar, the DNC decided to only let in two additional states into the early going of the presidential nomination process instead of four states, which had been the original plan.

CONCORD, N.H. - A Democratic National Committee panel considering changes to the presidential primary calendar voted Thursday to allow just two other states to join Iowa and New Hampshire in voting early in 2008.

If the full DNC adopts the recommendation, one state would be allowed to hold a caucus between Iowa's caucus and the New Hampshire primary, and a second would hold a primary shortly after the New Hampshire contest.

This is a good step forward for our nomination process. Even though the small size of Iowa and New Hampshire allow for true retail politics, and both are swing states in this day and age, they simply aren't representative of the demographics of the Democratic Party. Furthermore, just how important is retail politics? In local races, I think that retail politics is an absolute must; however, in the race for president, most people won't even get to see the candidates in person, much less interact with them on a personal level. Frankly, most politicians are going to come off as nice guys (or women) when you speak to them up-close. You can tell your friends you may have met the future president, but ultimately, I don't think retail politics by presidential candidates is that important. It's the retail politics by the grassroots on a local level that will be make a bigger difference.

As the aforementioned article mentions, ten states, along with the District of Columbia, are applying to be the lucky two who will gain prominence in the primary system. They are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and West Virginia. Of these choices, I think it's imperative to choose states that are in regions not represented by either Iowa or New Hampshire; this limits the possible states to those in the mid-Atlantic region, the South, and the West. To be frank, I think that Hawaii and D.C. can be quickly eliminated - Hawaii because of the geographical space and time it would take to campaign there, and D.C. because it is so intensely Democratic to begin with.

For the South, I think that Arkansas is clearly the best choice. It's a state that has remained predominantly Democratic on the national level, even though it has voted for Bush twice. Both senators (Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor) are Democrats, and 3 of the 4 representatives in the House are Democrats. While the rest of the South has rapidly filled its seats with Republicans, Arkansas remains a bastion of Democratic politics, and I think that our candidates would be best served by going to the state and learning something about politicking in the region aside from what Bill Clinton may have to say.

My next choice would most likely be Colorado, with Arizona coming in a close second. In 2004, as chronicled in Crashing The Gate, Democrats were able to force Democrats to put aside their stakes in various interest groups and unite for a common goal - getting our party back into a position of power. Not only did we pick up the Senate seat, but we also took over both houses of the state legislature. It'd be a wonderful place for our candidates to learn not to kowtow to the interest groups but to recognize that electing Democrats will allow these groups to be heard, something that is clearly not happening under Republican rule unless you have money.

By adding other states to the primary schedule, we may be able to select a candidate who represents all of us, not just the will of two states that are not the best representation of the Democratic Party. It can only help us out, and it's breaking down yet another institution of the old guard. That's what crashing the gate is all about.

Tags: 2008 election, Democratic National Committee, Iowa, New Hampshire, Primary Schedule (all tags)




Although I wish Louisiana was on the list.  Voters from the rural South, particularly African-Americans and white populists, need to participate early in our primaries.  We also need the voices of those who live in a state with a high poverty rate to have more power in our election process.  Arkansas should be wedged between Iowa and New Hampshire, and a Western state should follow New Hampshire.  Campaigning in Arkansas will be challenging, and it will force many candidates to modify their platform for the various audiences they will have to confront.  It will also force the candidates to be more honest, direct, personable and charismatic.  An early primary in this state will also benefit us in states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, as Arkansas's media markets overlap with those of these states.  

by illinois062006 2006-06-22 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 elections: which state deserves the boost

My Only dibs with Arkansas is that 2 potential candidates would have a geographical advantage to the state - Wesley Clark, who lives in Arkansas, and Hillary Clinton, who lived in the state with Bill Clinton while governor.

The best Geographically Neutral state in the South would be Alabama, but of course Alabama, like South Carolina, really has no value to the Democratic National strategy whatsoever. Plus it is quite a bit bigger than Arkansas.

I voted for Colorado, who, while a relatively large state, is small enough to not have overwhelmingly expensive media markets found elsewhere.

by KainIIIC 2006-06-22 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 elections: which state deserves the boost

But the state is small enough and rural enough to give everyone an opportunity to meet with voters in many different venues.  And Arkansas's political affiliations will be different with every election.  Yes, 2008 will be marked by a fierce competition between Clark and Clinton, but their barbs will also give others with a less combative message the opportunity to emerge from the scorched earth they leave behind.  There are also big regional, racial and class differences in the state, and I imagine this will create a really interesting dynamic.

by illinois062006 2006-06-22 10:13PM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 elections: which state?

I would argue that Missouri should be on this list instead of Alabama.  The rotation should be Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire then Missouri.  Just my $0.02.

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2006-06-23 06:36AM | 0 recs


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