The Legitimate Change That Should Come From This Primary

by dday

I want to thank Senator Edwards for running a tremendous campaign. He moved the policy in a progressive direction and matured far more than in 2004. He was just up against two juggernauts and couldn't wedge himself into the media spotlight. (the media, by the way, picked the nominees. Again.)

I have been very dismissive of California's moving up their primary, and I've taken a lot of heat for that at Calitics. But Edwards dropping out and last night's events, I think, prove two things.

CHANGE THE PRIMARY SYSTEM. If 1-2% of all voters can whittle the field down to two candidates, and deliver a nominee on the Republican side, we have a serious problem and everyone knows it. My degradation of California moving up was a focus on the PROCESS, not some animus against California. The process sucks. It needs to be reformed in a big way. The fact that Florida broke the rules, moved up, delivered no delegates on the Dem side, but obviously succeeded since they PICKED THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE, should tell you something. We need a spread-out process and maybe earlier conventions to end this bad front-loaded system. It's terrible for democracy.

INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING. So many Democrats threw their vote away by voting early for Edwards, and for other candidates who dropped out before the election in other states. We're moving toward a model not of election day but of election month, and in primaries where candidates drop out, those voters are disenfranchised. To the extent that voters have remorse, their vote should go to their second choice, which would be completely simple if we just used IRV. If they have no second choice they don't have to fill in those bubbles.

Or, if you prefer media-driven candidates foisted on the bulk of the country, then go ahead and keep this wonderful primary train going! Maybe within a few cycles we can vote for the nominee and the nominee four years hence on the same day! It'd make things so much easier.