Monday, July 27, 2009
The premise: Small states go first, large states go last.
The rules: Iowa and New Hampshire receive an exemption to continue going at the front of the pack. Following the lead-off, the ten smallest states hold simultaneous delegate selection events (primaries or caucuses) with the remaining states are split into three groups based on size. If the smallest states were to go during March, the small-to-medium states would go in April, the medium-to-large states would go in May and the largest states would bring up the rear in June. States could not go any earlier than their designated month, but could opt to hold a later contest if that was the custom in the state.
The history: This plan in its original form made some headway during the 2000 election cycle within the Republican Party. Its advance was quashed at the GOP convention that year to avoid a floor fight over the issue. The plan was later altered to provide Iowa and New Hampshire with the exemption depicted in the map above. Without that exemption, New Hampshire would end up in the group of smallest states while Iowa would hold its caucuses during the month designated for the small-to-medium states.
The pros: The Delaware Plan (modified or otherwise) would allow for retail politics and the potential for the building of a grassroots candidacy (during the election year). That is intended to maintain a certain level of competition in the process.
The cons: Obviously, densely populated areas are disadvantaged by this plan, and thus urban issues are potentially secondary in such a campaign (What kind of nominee does that produce?). Also, states organized by size are not all clustered together. That would potentially have the effect of advantaging the candidates with the most money to organize in and visit each of those states (Would that produce a result any different from the current system?).
The Week Ahead
Presidential Primary Reform Week: Reading Room
Oops! A 2012 GOP Primary Poll FHQ Missed and Another Rant on the Over-Interpretation of These Polls