Friday, January 24, 2014

A Proposal For Presidential Primary And Election Overhaul

Most Americans are already tired of talking about the 2016 election, since the media began discussing potential candidates about .0005 seconds after President Obama was declared the winner in 2012. And I believe most Americans are nowhere as enamored with political primaries and campaigns as the establishments themselves, along with the hundreds of managers, advisers, pollsters and reporters.

I read with great fury an article about the RNC attempting to shorten the 2016 primary season. Of course, the fact that the news is covering the 2016 primary in early 2014 is a little aggravating, but let's set that aside. The thing that infuriated me the most was the fact that the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries were again enshrined as being first in the nation. To be clear, I have no particular dislike for the citizens of these two states. But where, exactly, did the US Constitution grant them disproportionate influence over the selection of presidential candidates?

To answer my own question, the USC did not do any such thing. This system was set and agreed upon by the establishment politicians and power brokers of both major parties. I suppose that part of this is simply because they are lazy, and want to be able to utilize the existing networks in these states. However, I also believe that a large part is to allow the establishment itself to hold sway over the primaries. Let me be clear: I cannot stand and have no respect for establishment politicians and power brokers of either party. As a general rule, anything that they want should be immediately opposed, until a compelling reason can be determined and supported.

When the primaries for both the 2008 and 2012 elections finally came to my state of Mississippi, the candidates that I was most passionate about supporting had already dropped out. This essentially meant that I had to hold my nose and vote for someone I didn't really want.

With that in mind, I propose the following changes to the presidential primary and presidential election systems.

Presidential Primaries:

  1. Divide the many states into two categories, large and small, based upon congressional representation.
  2. Select, by blind lottery, two large and two small states to be the early primaries. These four states are removed from the rotation for the next 4 elections
  3. Schedule the four primaries over a two month term, one election every two weeks, on a small, large, small, large progression.
  4. Two weeks after the last primary, every other state holds their primary. The entire primary season lasts 10 weeks.
  5. The delegates of every state are awarded based upon the voter results of their congressional district. No state may award based on a "winner take all" system.
Presidential Elections:
  1. The entire nation has a synchronized 24 hour period where the polls are open. Polls open at 2pm in Hawaii, 3pm in Alaska, 4pm in Pacific, 5pm in Mountain, 6pm in Central, and 7pm in Eastern, and close at the same time on the next day. This removes any possibility of the media influencing voter turnout or voter decisions by reporting poll results or survey responses in the time zones that have already reached 7pm.
  2. As in the primary elections, electors are awarded by their congressional district, with the exception of the two Senatorial electors who would be awarded by majority vote. This puts almost every elector from every state in play, instead of the current system where presidential candidates can and do make willful decisions to completely ignore the citizens of entire states because their victory road map does not require them. In addition, it also decreases the influence of metropolitan areas over rural areas. For example, Idaho has approximately 1.6 million citizens, but over half that number live in five cities.

As a side note, in case anyone asks about the Electoral College being abolished. The disparity between populous and remote states, as well as the disparity between urban and rural areas is the reason that the EC exists. Removing the EC would soon result in presidential candidates focusing only on a handful of metro areas and basically ignoring the majority of the nation.

Well, I've made my suggestion. I'd love to hear your feedback. My biggest point is that the establishments of both major parties like the existing system because it allows THEM power over our decisions.