Daily Editorial: Missing the primary
Vail CO, Colorado
Nothing against Iowa or New Hampshire – both fine states – but how annoying it to watch their voters get to have such an oversized say in presidential politics?
One need only look back to 2004 ” when the unremarkable John Kerry was able to kick-start his campaign through the caucus and primary of these two states ” to see how much unjustified weight they can carry.
In Colorado, like Iowa, we get a caucus – but it isn’t until February 5, long after the first primaries and sometimes too late to make a difference.
At least this year, with both Republican and Democrat fields possessing no clear front-runner, Colorado’s caucus in February may be more relevant, especially as our state has turned somewhat purple.
The folks in New Hampshire are covetous of their “first primary” status, and history does suggest they have at least some right to it. The primary process itself is only a little over a century old, and many states tried it, then gave it up in favor of allowing the state delegations pick their candidates. Through it all, New Hampshire stuck to their primary, asserting what state residents saw as a civic obligation to be involved in the process and not ceding their voice to the parties. Tiny, white and more affluent than most states, it’s still odd to see so much clout allocated to the Granite State. We liked the idea of a large Western primary that would have lumped Colorado into one big contest earlier in the season, but that hasn’t come to pass.
Which leaves us to the caucus: a little tough to figure out, more time-consuming than a simple primary vote and not particularly well attended. In fact, only 6 percent of Iowans participated in the 2004 caucuses, according to George Mason University professor Michael McDonald.
It is, however, an interesting exercise in democracy and one worth experiencing.
We’ll have more information in the Vail Daily as the date approaches.
” Alex Miller for the Editorial Board