m a r k a n d e y a

More on New Hampshire and Iowa

Posted by Brian on January 1, 2008

The AP did an article on the vastly out-of-proportion influence New Hampshire and Iowa have in our presidential election structure:

Despite efforts to evict the two states from the front of the presidential calendar, both managed to hang on for another election cycle that culminates with the Iowa caucuses on Thursday and the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 8. As a year of media attention reaches its crescendo, voters in other states are saying enough is enough.

According to national survey conducted for The Associated Press and Yahoo News, just over half of all voters said New Hampshire and Iowa have an extraordinary amount of influence over who wins the two nominations.

“They have way too much — WAY too much — say,” said Kevin Thomas of Tacoma, Wash. “California’s a big state and they don’t have any say, and Iowa’s not even half the size of California. It really makes me as a voter wonder what’s going on.”

As expected, the folks in NEw Hampshire and Iowa disagree:

Gardner and other defenders of New Hampshire say the country — and the candidates — are well-served because the primary requires close contact with voters, not just a big advertising budget and name recognition.

“It gives the little guy a chance,” said Gardner.

He wasn’t surprised by the poll results and negative reaction toward the early states given that most of the country knows nothing about the primary’s history or the state’s uniquely inquisitive and democratic culture.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat who has not endorsed any candidate, argues that New Hampshire’s retail politics cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the country.

“We have made it possible for the so-called unknown candidates to make their case without having millions of dollars in the bank. And in turn, we demand that candidates move beyond the rope line and scripted town hall meetings, and directly answer the hard questions from voters,” he said. “As a result, the voters, the candidates and the political process all benefit from the New Hampshire primary.”

I only wish he would have explained a bit about New Hampshire’s so-called “uniquely inquisitive and democratic culture,” because I would love to learn more. As it is, it sounds like a bunch of obnoxious bragging with very little, if any, real data to support. After decades of ass-kissing by candidates desperate to win these states, the locals really believe that they are special and deserving of deciding who the rest of get to vote for. I don’t see why any number of smaller states couldn’t serve the same purpose.


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