Election process has flaws

Published 11:31 am Wednesday, October 8, 2008

By Staff
The presidential campaign has come a long way since January when two dozen aspirants were trudging through the snow in Iowa and New Hampshire. With that being said, I would like to share a few thoughts regarding our presidential politics.
First, we need to do away with the Electoral College and have a direct election for President so that the person who receives the most votes is elected President. Every American's vote should count the same, regardless of which state they call home.
Secondly, the two early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire have an inordinate amount of power in presidential politics simply because they are first. It does not make sense that two of the smallest states in the country, that do not come close to reflecting the American population, get the first say in choosing our president. These two states' votes amount to less than 1 percent of the American electorate.
All 22 states that held their primaries on Feb. 5 are larger than Iowa and New Hampshire. Therefore, if these two states were forced to hold their primaries on the same day as the other states, their results would be inconsequential.
California and New York have more than 50 times more voters than Iowa and New Hampshire. Even Alabama dwarfs these two states in size and influence. We have more people voting in Jefferson County than vote in either Iowa or New Hampshire. Yet, by virtue of being first, they garner enormous influence over who the Democratic and Republican nominees are going to be because of the bandwagon or momentum effect.
Momentum is essential in politics. As the states' cavalcade of primaries progressed it became apparent that momentum was the engine that drove the train toward victory. Also evident this year is the political maxim that more people will vote against someone than for them.
Several new trends also developed during this year's primaries. First, young people under 30 almost never vote so they are written off by the campaigns. However, this year young people came out in record numbers to vote for Obama.
My hope is that by 2012 a regional primary system is put into place to give other states and regions an equal opportunity in the process of selecting our presidential nominee.
Steve Flowers is a political columnist who served 16
years in the state legislature.
He can be reached at www.steveflowers.us.

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