National Primary? Part 1

November 3, 1998
Today as we go to the polls, I want to talk about a future election: the election in the year 2000. You know, the decision by California to move its primary closer to the New Hampshire primary could be a disaster for the electoral process.

In the past, the California primary was at the end of the political process. Now politicians in California want their primary earlier, and other states are planning to move their primaries earlier. In effect, we are about to have a national primary.

What's wrong with that, you say? After all, the Presidential elections seems to last too long anyway? Why not get it all over by March?

As I see it there are at least two problems. Let me talk about the first one today. A shorter primary hurts grass roots candidates and favors establishment candidates. If a candidate won California, his nomination was usually confirmed. That is how Barry Goldwater barely defeated Nelson Rockefeller in 1964. And that is how a number of grass roots candidates have survived for a longer period of time. With the California primary earlier and a push to have a East Coast Super Primary, all the money will have to be raised at once. If you have more than a hundred million dollars you can enter. If you don't, forget it.

Suppose Senator John Ashcroft or Pat Buchanan surprises some people and wins the Iowa caucuses and then does well again in New Hampshire. Those campaigns would be energized and they would get more money and more media attention. But they would need millions of dollars immediately if they were to compete in California and other big states. Under the old system, they could build momentum. Under this new system, there isn't enough time.

The candidate with the most money (either a millionaire or someone already backed by the party establishment) would win. A grass roots candidate won't have a chance.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International