by Michael Lowrey
The Associated Press had a piece out over the weekend on an element of the election law changes adopted by the General Assembly requiring that North Carolina’s presidential primary be held just after South Carolina’s in 2016. All other primaries would continue to be held in May. What’s this all about:
“The goal is to be able to have more influence,” said Adam Newmark, an Appalachian State University political science professor, but “the problem is every state wants to be more influential.”
Correct. And the easiest way to have more influence is simply for states to move their primaries forward. Left to their own devises, various states would up the ante with ever-earlier primaries and caucuses until some state decided to hold its contest in 2015… and even that wouldn’t end the bidding…
Note that the big winners in a state having its presidential primaries early are the state’s political operators, who can sell their services to presidential campaigns, and politicians, who get schmoozed for their endorsement.
The Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee recognize the problem of this early primary bidding war and reduce the number of delegates from states that have their primaries earlier than a certain date without approval. Will such punishments deter Republicans in the General Assembly from holding an early primary? Time will tell.
Bonus observation: Republicans pride themselves on wanting to reduce the tax and regulatory burdens placed upon citizens. Funny how such considerations got ignored in this case. Having a separate presidential primary would cost counties millions while civic-minded voters would spend literally millions of additional hours of their scarce time casting a ballot in two separate primaries instead of one.