Friday, July 21, 2006

Not just Iowa and New Hampshire any more

This is a hell of a good idea:

Democrats are on track to jumble the states in the presidential primary calendar in response to growing criticism that the same predominantly white states hold many of the cards in early voting. And not even complaints from a former president and a half-dozen White House hopefuls can stop them.

Iowa would still go first in the new calendar, but a Western state -- possibly Nevada or Arizona -- would be wedged in before the New Hampshire primary. A Southern state -- possibly Alabama or South Carolina -- would follow New Hampshire.

The national Democrats' rules and bylaws committee expects to vote on the proposal this weekend.

Critical Democratic constituencies such as blacks and Hispanics have clamored for a major role in early primary voting, arguing that Iowa and New Hampshire are hardly reflective of a diverse electorate.

Iowa's population is 95 percent white, New Hampshire's is 96.2 percent, according to the latest Census numbers.

Lots more, including the revealing demographics, at the link. This makes sense for so many reasons I can't count them all. For one: how many times have you been irritated that the candidate winning IA or NH went on to become our nominee, eliminating your personal favorite almost before he got out of the gate?

I just can't wait to see which southern and southwestern states they pick. My guess is that it will be the ones whose media costs the least, which would seem to make NM and Alabam' the favorites.

I'll update this post with the official announcement.

Update (7/22): So much for my powers of divine prophecy; it's Nevada and South Carolina, subject to final approval ...

Democrats bucked decades of tradition Saturday by moving to wedge the state of Nevada between the long-standing one-two punch of Iowa and New Hampshire in the leadoff nominating contests for president in 2008.

In an effort to provide more diversity in early voting, the Democrats' rules and bylaws committee recommended that Nevada be allowed to hold a caucus the Saturday after Iowa's leadoff caucus — likely to be held Jan. 14. The rules panel also awarded South Carolina an early primary, which would be held a week after New Hampshire's Jan. 22 primary.

The full Democratic National Committee will have to approve during its August meeting in Chicago before the changes are put in place.

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