The next state which would like to move up their primary date is...

The envelope please…

That’s probably not the best joke to be told on this site today, but it’s at least appropriate since it’s in somewhat of an Oscars style theme. Yes, California is the place where at least some residents feel that they’re getting the short end of the stick in presidential primaries and are calling for a chance to move their election date up earlier so they can get into the mix. George Skelton at the LA Times explains.

California voters had virtually no voice in who was nominated for president last year. That’s plain wrong. And hopefully it can be made right for 2020.

Yes, that’s an eon away, although for millions of voters in this deep-blue state, the next presidential election probably can’t come soon enough.

Regardless, the system needs to be fixed long before the next White House wannabes surface and inevitably politicize what should be a rational decision about California’s role in the nominating process.

Just ask yourself: Were you really happy about the nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Millions were not, I suspect.

But Trump and Clinton had the Republican and Democratic nominations practically sewed up — thanks to some pampered pipsqueak states — before Californians were heard from in the June primary.

I assume that Iowa and New Hampshire were chief among the “pampered pipsqueak states” that Skelton is going on about. And to be clear, I’ve been banging the drum here for ages about how those two states punch so far above their weight class in the presidential candidate selection process. We’ve covered all sorts of ways to address this, ranging from a rotating schedule to regional primary dates. Everyone seems to come up with a reason to do nothing when it comes time to decide, though.

So in some regards, I can actually sympathize with Skelton’s complaints. I’ve voiced many of the same frustrations about living in New York. But in typical left coast fashion, the author jumps up on his soap box and takes the argument several steps over the line into territory which leaves him wide open for ridicule. Allow me to fill the bill.

After admitting that it’s their own fault for scheduling the primaries so late in the season, George laments that this is not a new condition and, “California has been fretting about being ignored for decades.” Ignored? You may be voting after one candidate has all but locked up the nomination, but let’s not rend our clothing to the point of being naked here. California buys (literally) out of proportion influence in every other aspect of the election process by being the home to most of the gazillionares who finance at least half of every major Democratic initiative. (Much of the rest of it comes from New York City of course.) The Golden State is also the home playing field for the media engines which create and drive all of the advertising. Let’s not wave the “ignored” banner too high, shall we?

And this seems a bit uncalled for.

It’s time to stop being shoved around by the weenie states and allow Californians to vote when it matters.

Weenie states? There’s some enlightened, elite-speak if I’ve ever heard it. But let’s face it, George. California isn’t being “shoved around” by anyone, or at least no more than the other two thirds of the country that comes in late. And there’s also more than a little question about voting “when it matters.” You still get the same, massive number of delegates as always, even if you go dead last. If Californians really saw things differently than most of the rest of the country, they could knock somebody out of first place status in a single day, assuming there was enough space left for a different candidate to win. And if there wasn’t, then you wouldn’t change the outcome no matter when you voted.

I agree with the basic premise of the complaint (all “weenie” insults aside) as I said above, but this is no solution. If you jump into the clown car with the rest of the states who keep trying to dance their way to the front of the line, you’ll simply be compounding an existing problem further. If you want to push for a chance at an early slot and more influence before anyone locks up the Big Mo, why not take a more cooperative approach? Get to work on the leadership in both parties and sign on with a plan for a rotating schedule. Then every four or five election cycles you could have your turn at the front of the line, slowing gliding back toward the back over the next 16 to 20 years before starting the process all over again.

It’s not perfect, but it would be a darned site better than what we have now. And oh… by the way. You might want to drop the “weenie” line before talking to the rest of the states. They tend to get a bit sensitive about such things.

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David Strom 8:31 AM on October 02, 2022