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personal

The unfair process of the US primary

By William Bakker | 03.29.08 | Comment?

Once in a while I’d like to digress from travel, technology and marketing on my blog. I have other interests and one of them is politics.
The US presidential election fascinates me on a lot of levels. In a lot of ways its great. It takes so long that there’s no way you won’t understand the differences between the candidates at the end of the process. Compared to Dutch and Canadian politics where election season is limited to a couple of months or so.
What I don’t understand is why I haven’t heard anybody talk about the complete unfairness of spreading the primary elections over months. Currently, there’s a lot of talk that Clinton should quit the process so the democrats can focus on the general elections. The reasons for this is that Obama is ahead in the delegate race, has won more states and has a majority lead in the popular vote.
This is based on the schedule of the elections. A candidates momentum is based on the last primary. Take the democrats for example. Obama won the first, causing huge media attention. Clinton won the second, and the momentum shifted to her. And on and on it went. Then other candidates started dropping out.
Maybe one of the other candidates could have won a state with an election months later. Just because Iowa and New Hampshire are first, it means that if you don’t appeal to these states, you’re done because the momentum has now swung to other candidates. Not fair to people living in other states who might like that candidate.
And imagine if the schedule of the primaries would have been something like New Hampshire, Arizona, Ohio, Rhode Island, California. These states were all won by Clinton. Obama would probably been forced to drop out; Clinton’s momentum would have been to much.
Montana and South Dakota (the last democratic primaries on June 3) probably won’t matter anymore. And if they do, it’s because of the extraordinary year for the democrats. The voters in these state essentially don’t have a say in the election of their party’s candidate. I seriously don’t get it.

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