National Primary? Part 2

November 4, 1998
Yesterday we went to the polls, and while elections are still on our minds I want to revisit the issue I discussed yesterday: the election in the year 2000. The decision by California to move its primary closer to the New Hampshire primary is moving us toward a national primary. And I don't think that is such a good thing.

In the past, the California primary was at the end of the political process, and politicians there want to move their primary up so California has more say in the elections. While I don't fault them for wanting to do that, I think it will have a negative effect on the electoral process.

Yesterday I talked about how a shorter primary hurts grass roots candidates and favors establishment candidates. It favors a George Bush and an Al Gore, and creates significant obstacles for a John Ashcroft or a Richard Gephardt. The candidate with the party establishment's backing and money will be better be able to compete. And, of course, millionaires and billionaires like Ross Perot or Steve Forbes could compete.

But there is a second problem with a shorter primary. It gives less time to surface potential problems in a candidate. When Gary Hart surprised everyone including Walter Mondale in the 1984 New Hampshire primary, it looked like he might be the democratic nominee. But then issues surfaced about his personal life, that fact that he changed his name from Hartpence, etc. The Mondale camp created doubts about Gary Hart and won the nomination. A longer primary provides more opportunity to look at the candidate. And even with a long primary season, the voters can still make a mistake.

The point is this, a longer primary season was better for the electoral process. The decision by California will shorten the season and change the rules of the game.

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

© 1998 Probe Ministries International