Now I will admit up front what I’m suggesting is not a law but rather another constitutional amendment, as I am going to suggest, quite contrary to my usual stance, that affects a very specific area of state’s rights. I don’t care. And quite frankly if this was introduced I don’t think 48 of the states would complain my actually giving them more power and control than they have now. The two states that will complain are Iowa and Rhode Island.
According to Dave Barry in his grand political masterpiece “Dave Barry Hits below the Beltway” the Constitution states the following:
The President shall be elected every four years according to the following procedure:
(a) In the dead of winter, all interested candidates and their entourages, as well as members of the national press corps on expense accounts, shall go to Iowa and New Hampshire, unless somebody discovers two states that are even more wretched places to spend the dead of winter.
(c)[…]The instant that the votes are counted, the candidates, entourages, and press corps members shall vacate these two states faster than Senator Ted Kennedy vacates a submerged Oldsmobile.
Now I’m not entirely sure that Barry, a candidate for President for the last two decades, is entirely accurate in his direct quote from the Constitution, but from actually watching the news, you would have every reason to believe that this is somehow enshrined in the Constitution.
And why is this? Why is a state that that loves corn as much as New Zealand loves sheep and a frozen waste land in New England (and not the happy kind of waste land where I can shore fragments against my ruins) the states that get to choose who gets to be President? Why only these two? Now I’ll admit I don’t have as much against New Hampshire, but Iowa is a problem. This is a state where every candidate up until this election has had to swear a blood oath and offer their first born as ransoms in their support of ethanol subsidies to win. (It tells you how bad the debt really is when candidates feel they can tell Iowa where to stick their corn). Which is why I think this system must change. No two states should hold this much power over the electorate.
Thus we need a change.
We need a Constitutional Amendment stating that there will be 10 primaries held from January to May in a presidential election year. Each primary will consist of 5 states. The order of the states will be chosen the November before (because the election cycles last far too damn long these days) by picking the states randomly (computer, bingo balls, pulling them out of a hat, don’t really care how so long as its random). This will mean that no state will perpetually have the power to force its pet projects down the throat of the rest of the country (as Iowa has done for the last few decades). Also the randomness of this will prevent candidates from tailoring that week of primaries to a single state or area (as currently with Super Tuesday)…they’ll actually have to come up with policies that are more national in outlook (what a concept they’re only the President of the WHOLE country) and not just for the needs of that area in that week.
Will this change a lot? No. But a basic concept of federalism is that no state should be arbitrarily over any other—this is why every state only gets two senators. And I don’t necessarily think that this will radically change the outcome. But ask yourself do you always agree with people in Iowa and think they should ALWYAS have first say in who gets to be president?