Saturday, December 29, 2007

Primary Season: Strange Days Indeed

Part of the primary process is the winnowing of many candidates down to a few. This is becoming a truly odd primary for several reasons. First of all, Iowa and New Hampshire, for all their small town charm, no longer represent the vast middle American political spectrum. Back in the day when we were largely a rural economy with manufacturing centers, the combination of having largely rural Iowa and New Hampshire primaries calling the shots made sense. In a period when most of us live in or around large cities, the views of these small and most homogenous states don't reflect the concerns that hound most of us. What does an Iowa farmer know about the influx of illegal immigration on the economy of border states? What does a New Hampshire resident understand about the increasing need for improved infrastructure throughout regions that would swallow their small state in size? We are a federation of states, each supposedly with our own needs but with fair representation, allegedly, in Congress. So why then do we continue to put such blind faith in the caucus process in states that have so very little to do with the larger problems of urban centers that are remote to them? A better case could be made for having California or Florida as the first primary because at least there the mix of voters would better represent the nation as a whole. Instead what will happen is that candidates will gather and attempt to appease the voters in these two small states. In doing so, they will address things like education, healthcare and social justice-all areas in which these two states express a great deal of interest. Very little will be said regarding the war, taxation, spending or the other bugaboos that haunt states later in the primary season. After these first primaries, it is expected that candidate will drop out. I have my own ideas about that. As I see it, Obama wins Iowa and Clinton wins New Hampshire. The Republicans are a toss-up, with Giuliani being the compormise candidate. I am kind of curious if someone like Thompson might make it a floor fight OR possibly break from the party and run as an independent. Wouldn't it be interesting to see Thompson/Leiberman ticket? Now that would tick off both major parties, but at the same time could throw the election to Congress. I don't think that's a hot potato they want to handle because the ensuing political fallout will make Gore's hissy fit look like a hiccup. Strange days indeed.

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