Friday, May 04, 2007

US Primary Schedule: Everybody First, Tragedy of the Commons

First California, then Florida is moving up their primary date. The U.S. primary system used to be both "fun", for political junkies, and useful, in that a "dark-horse" candidate could emerge and build momentum. But then the states that were later, and felt like they therefore had little influence, started pushing to move their dates up. This has been progressing for the least 3 or so election cycles, but it seems that the current situations is the culmination of it all. Seems to me like a variation on the "tragedy of the commons" pattern--a system that was good for many states and good for the overall polity has now been destroyed, to the gain of almost no state, and detriment of the overall polity.

Mortimer Zuckerman has an op-ed piece on this in US News. The compromise, involving a sequence of regional primaries, taking turns in going early, seems like a hope to salvage something. Not as interesting, quirky or raw as the traditional system, but better than nothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment