2008 South Carolina Moves Up Its Primary
posted by August 9 at 11:46 AMon
And Dan Balz of The Washington Post goes off:
South Carolina Republican chairman Katon Dawson won his moment in the political limelight today by shifting his state’s GOP primary to Jan. 19, 2008. But in doing so, he may have put the entire tradition of the presidential nominating system at risk.
South Carolina’s move is almost certain to trigger other changes in the calendar. The issue is how much the current system can be bent and stretched and warped before it finally breaks apart.
That is what elected officials and state party leaders in states like New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, Florida and South Carolina should be thinking about as they contemplate how to react to Dawson’s announcement today.
Tradition, self-interest and pure envy have shaped the 2008 calendar and they ultimately could be the system’s undoing. At some point there is likely to be rebellion against a process that forces voters to begin picking presidential nominees 10 months or more before the general election.
Can any state official truly justify asking voters to think seriously about presidential politics in the calendar year before the presidential election — and in the middle of the holiday season to boot? That now appears distinctly possible if New Hampshire feels crowded by South Carolina and moves to early January and Iowa feels crowded by New Hampshire and moves into December.