Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Asked and Answered: Why The Establishment Loves Front Loaded Primaries

Posted by Adam Graham on February 21, 2007

Paul Weyrich has a fascinating piece on frontloading of the primary process.:

What is the rush now? I know the Democrats are certain they are going to win not only the Presidency in 2008 but greatly increase their margins in the House and Senate as well. Somehow, they believe it is to their advantage to have the nomination determined at least six months before the nominating conventions. Republicans seem to be going along with this game. Why? A large portion of the public would like to see other candidates run as opposed to those with whom they are familiar. Rightly so. A Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who portrays himself as a more moderate Democrat who gets things done, would have no chance if the primaries were bunched together — the same for Iowa’s former Governor Thomas Vilsak. Likewise, candidates such as former Governors Tommy Thompson (R-WI) or Mike Huckabee (R-AK) or Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) are all credible. They will have no chance if the primaries are bunched together and perhaps former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Senator John S. McCain, III (R-AZ) wins New Hampshire. There will be little chance for any of the others to prevail under those circumstances.

The question of why the frontloading has occurred is that is an attempt to deny oxygen to any campaign that might challenge the estalishment picks. People in states such as California, New Jersey, and Illinois are being told it will buy them more influence, yet they’ll be flown over by politicians (and in most cases have to hold another statewide primary anyway).

Lest we forget, we had a chance to fix this process with a plan that had been drafted with approval from the Republican National Committee, called the Delaware plan but rejected it. Both parties want to scare off candidates that can’t raise $80-$100 million by January, 2008.

Weyrich goes on to write:

So here is where the nation finds itself. Instead of spending the Presidential election year of 2008 figuring out who the nominees of both parties shall be, it seems that will be determined this year instead. It is not the people who are making that determination. The media appears to be running the campaigns on both sides. If by the end of this year it is clear who will be the nominees, then the bunched-up primaries become a mere formality. They merely ratify what the media has determined.

As much as I like to blame the media, let’s be clear that the media didn’t set this insane schedule. Party leadership did and here’s the reason why: they want to control the process. The media has been given a huge role, but the biggest role of media is to stop certain candidates due to an inability to compete with campaign advertisements that establishment-backed candidates have little trouble raising.

If people want to have any control of this process, now is the time to start paying attention. While we can fault the system, we must live with it, and adapt to it.

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