Hasn’t the DNC learned yet?

The DNC is about to shoot itself in the foot with asinine policies meant to punish states that are protesting an inherently unfair primary process. And the major candidates are only too happy to suck money from those states without needing to zealously campaign there.

More candidates to skip rogue Dem states – Yahoo! News

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards on Saturday joined three other Democrats who say they will skip states that break party rules by holding early primaries.

Their decision is a major boost to the primacy of four early voting states â?? Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina â?? and a welcome development to the Democratic National Committee.

…. The DNC has tried to impose discipline on a handful of unruly states determined to vote before Feb. 5 and gain influence in the election cycle.

I disagree with the DNC policy to strip states of delegate representation at the convention if they vote earlier than Feb. 5, 2007. The DNC deserves a lot of the blame for the current spat by supporting an inherently unfair primary system for so many years.That unfairness has led most other states to move up so they get a piece of the pie and a say in who will be elected to run in the general election. The last presidential primary cycle ended by February, before most states had an opportunity to vote.

The DNC must absolutely provide a workable system and is within its right to set guidelines for who it elects in a primary and for a primary schedule. If they don’t, this tit for tat will continue indefinitely and primaries will be held in July 2011. But retaliating against Florida’s and Michigan’s Republican legislatures by denying delegate votes to the Democratic convention is not acceptable. That current path chosen by the DNC is the wrong one because it will shoot itself in the foot. The policy disenfranchises voters and will ultimately backfire against it for a couple reasons. One, the DNC is known to support voting rights and this move looks hypocritical, even if it is intended to restore order in the process. Two, primary elections are combined in several states with referendums and local elections. Imagine if the DNC needs to rally the troops in Florida or Michigan to hit the polls for a cause it deeply supports. Expect to feel the wrath of independently-minded voters come November ’08.

The better solution is either (1) all states hold primaries on the same day; or (2) all states participate in a round robin in which five primaries are held every Tuesday for ten weeks. The next election cycle will see the five that voted first voting last and the other groupings of states moving up a week.

Ultimately, New Hampshire and Iowa must recognize they are not better than any other state and will need to share the spotlight with other states.

The current system rewards candidates for only focusing on a few early states and ignoring the rest. I’m in California, most populous state in the union, and even I feel a lack of love here from candidates. I can only imagine how voters feel in Michigan, Florida, and 45 other states not named New Hampshire and Iowa. Here, candidates only come to town for high stakes fundraisers and are gone in a matter of hours. Normal people like me never get a chance to hear them speak like they do in Iowa or New Hampshire. That was until our primary was moved up early enough so that we couldn’t be ignored.

The reason the DNC lost the past two presidential elections is because it was out of touch with the regular, everyday person. A trend that I see is continuing as it intends to disenfranchise voters from its own party in two of the top ten most populous states and lose crucial credibility in others. And if it continues, the next trend will be states forcing the parties pay for their primary/caucus. Why should California or any other state host and pay for a primary if it doesn’t actually matter? After all, budgets are tight and why should any state pay for an election that doesn’t matter.

Locally, I’m not the only one frustrated with the primary process that ended by February last election and which has ruled the primary in California moot during the past three or four (if not more) presidential elections. That’s why our state is now voting Feb. 5.

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