'Auld Lange Syne' And the Iowa Caucuses

Egads! The nightmare everyone feared may be coming to pass.

Candidates will be spending
New Year's Eve in Iowa:

The state’s Republicans tonight set Thursday, Jan. 3, as the date for their caucus.

The Democrats have not yet set a date, but they are likely to join the Republicans on Jan. 3. Still no word from Bill Gardner, the secretary of state in New Hampshire, on when he plans to set that state’s primary, but there’s talk of December.

The Iowa Republicans moved their caucus in order to maintain their status as the first-in-the-nation caucus state. State law requires that the caucuses be held at least a week before anyone else’s.

Iowa was set for Jan. 14. But then Michigan muscled its way to the front of the line to Jan. 15. That forced Iowa Republicans to move ahead; they have been debating between Jan. 3 and Jan. 5. The party’s central committee members held a conference call tonight and chose Jan. 3.
I fondly recall trudging through the streets of Manchester, New Hampshire in March of 1984 preparing for the GOP primary. It wasn't springtime yet but there was a definite feeling that the season was changing. Now that same primary may be held in the middle of December.

New Hampshire may opt for the pre-Christmas date to maximize its clout. Which is really what this is all about.

The situation is intolerable because Michigan and Florida ignored the directives from the parties and scheduled their primaries before February 5 - the first date allowed by the GOP and Democrats. Both states will suffer penalties. In Florida's case, Democratic Presidential candidates have been forbidden from campaigning there and any delegates Florida sends to the convention will not be seated.

That is, unless the nominee decides otherwise. And given the alternative of alienating residents from one of the biggest states, it is more than likely that the nominee will forgive Florida its apostasy and seat the delegates anyway.

The situation cries out for reform and no doubt both parties will make an effort to bring some sanity back into the process. But given the fact that no state party is likely to be disciplined for breaking the rules, it is hard to see how anything the national parties come up with will make a difference.
Egads! The nightmare everyone feared may be coming to pass.

Candidates will be spending
New Year's Eve in Iowa:

The state’s Republicans tonight set Thursday, Jan. 3, as the date for their caucus.

The Democrats have not yet set a date, but they are likely to join the Republicans on Jan. 3. Still no word from Bill Gardner, the secretary of state in New Hampshire, on when he plans to set that state’s primary, but there’s talk of December.

The Iowa Republicans moved their caucus in order to maintain their status as the first-in-the-nation caucus state. State law requires that the caucuses be held at least a week before anyone else’s.

Iowa was set for Jan. 14. But then Michigan muscled its way to the front of the line to Jan. 15. That forced Iowa Republicans to move ahead; they have been debating between Jan. 3 and Jan. 5. The party’s central committee members held a conference call tonight and chose Jan. 3.
I fondly recall trudging through the streets of Manchester, New Hampshire in March of 1984 preparing for the GOP primary. It wasn't springtime yet but there was a definite feeling that the season was changing. Now that same primary may be held in the middle of December.

New Hampshire may opt for the pre-Christmas date to maximize its clout. Which is really what this is all about.

The situation is intolerable because Michigan and Florida ignored the directives from the parties and scheduled their primaries before February 5 - the first date allowed by the GOP and Democrats. Both states will suffer penalties. In Florida's case, Democratic Presidential candidates have been forbidden from campaigning there and any delegates Florida sends to the convention will not be seated.

That is, unless the nominee decides otherwise. And given the alternative of alienating residents from one of the biggest states, it is more than likely that the nominee will forgive Florida its apostasy and seat the delegates anyway.

The situation cries out for reform and no doubt both parties will make an effort to bring some sanity back into the process. But given the fact that no state party is likely to be disciplined for breaking the rules, it is hard to see how anything the national parties come up with will make a difference.