LETTERS: Political primaries

Offers alternative to current primary process, scheduling

To the Editor:

A political primary is a preliminary election in which the registered voters of a political party nominate candidates for office [Editor’s note: Some states have ‘open primaries’ that allow any registered voter of any party to participate]. The key word here is preliminary.

The current system allows small states such as Iowa and New Hampshire (assisted by the media) to award front-runner status to victorious candidates [Editor’s note: Some via a caucus system]. From there, the candidates travel a path determined by which states wants to “leap frog” the other by moving up their primary dates.

Candidates are whisked across the country without any real ability to distinguish regional issues from national issues. Consequently, party platforms are determined by a make-it-up-as-you-go approach. If the primary process were organized on a regional basis, candidates would be able to study the regional issues, campaign to confirm those issues and then receive votes based on the solutions they propose. A regional approach would also prevent a premature selection of a front-runner because success in one region certainly would not guarantee success in the next region.

This would also further validate the process because each state would still have a say all the way down to the end. Finally, the number of delegates awarded in each state should be determined by the percentage of votes won by each candidate.

Accordingly, the political primaries should occur between January and June of each presidential election year. Each of the six regions would be assigned a particular month. A lottery held in June of the previous year would determine which month each region holds its primaries.

The following example illustrates the format:

January: Southern (eight): Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

February: Southwestern (nine): Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah

March: Atlantic (eight): Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.

April: New England (eight): Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont

May: Northwestern (nine): Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming

June: Middle West (nine): Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin

Joe Bialek, Cleveland, Ohio

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