22 January 2007


Fearing the race will be all but over by the time their residents vote, California and Florida are taking steps to move up their presidential primaries.

In California, the state legislature is considering a plan to move up the 2008 primary to Feb. 3 from June 5.

Menawhile an effort is underway in Florida to move up that state's primary from the first week of March to a date within seven days of the New Hampshire primary, set for Jan. 22.

In addition to New Hampshire, the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina primary are all set for January.

The anticipated moves by Florida and California would probably bolster the candidates with the most cash, since California and Florida are expensive places to campaign in. Plus it would require more criss-crossing of the country.

But, by adding California and Florida to the early mix, we'd be getting a better read on how a candidate would do in a general election, since their populations are much more diverse than in any of the other early primary states.

It wouldn't hurt to throw an industrial Midwestern state like Ohio or Michigan into the earlier primary season to truly get reading of what the electorate is thinking.

Adding variety, and validity to the early primaries is long overdue. Residents of New Hampshire and Iowa will bitch and moan about tradition and their right to be first. But the truth is those states are not good measures of the country as a whole and the current primary system does not serve most Americans well.

If they can move the Browns out of Cleveland and if they can tear down and replace Yankee Stadium we could certainly afford to lose the "tradition" that comes with allowing two small, ethnically vanilla states decide our presidential candidates for us.

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