“It’s tradition. That’s really all that it amounts to,” said Larry Sabato Jr., political scientist and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “No one’s happy with the status quo. The amazing thing is that most people just shrug their shoulders and say nothing can be done. … The parties don’t have the tools needed to really punish individual states.”
Supporters of the current system, however, argue that it forces candidates to put their boots on the ground and talk to real people, a connection that’s important to build credibility.
“I think the primary system, broadly speaking, works. It allows candidates to emerge. It allows the voters over time to measure and judge people. I think it is very important that it be a multi-month process,” 2012 contender Newt Gingrich said in 2008. “The current process both allows unusual candidates without great resources to emerge in Iowa and New Hampshire and, at the same time, it gives enough time to test everyone extensively.”