The Rotational Presidential Primary System

By Frank Hill

If you ever want to know why our current political system is so crazy, think no further than this important fact:

For the past 50 years, any serious candidate for President of the 'United' States of America has had to basically camp out with the 'good folks of Iowa' and sip tea with the 'good folks of New Hampshire' for days, weeks and months on end in sub-zero freezing temperatures.

Here's our question:

If we are truly the 'United' States of America, not the 'Black or White America' President Obama so eloquently spoke of long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away now it seems, then why do two of the least populated states get to make this humongous, momentous decision every 4 years for the rest of us?

On top of that, the demographics of Iowa and New Hampshire harken back to the good olden days where America was a predominately white WASPY society where Ward and June Cleaver raised two rambunctious son in a bucolic, tree-lined neighborhood in Everytown, USA. Iowa has a less than 3% African-American population and New Hampshire, well, good grief! Let's just say New Hampshire is 99% not African-American.

Don't you think that maybe perhaps there is at least some tiny degree of probability that there is some other state out of 48 of them that might be just a teeny-tiny bit more 'representative' of the entire US population here in the 21st century?

Florida just decided to move their primary up to January 31, 2012. Good for them.

Instead of waiting for the results of the Iowa Caucuses on Februrary 6 and then the NH primary the second Tuesday in March, they have just decided to jump the field and bring one of the largest states in the Union into prominence before the die is cast for the most part by remaining the 4th primary just behind South Carolina.

Here's a common-sense solution: Why not just rotate the presidential primaries around all 50 states so that each state has a chance to be in the top 5 every 4 years to pick our next presidential candidates from both major parties?

The order for the top 5 every 4 years could be determined by a random ping-pong ball being chosen. Heck! we choose the NBA #1 draft picks that way and people become mega-millionaires every night when some state holds their lottery number picks on television. Why not set our state's ranking order the same way to choose our Very Most Important Person every four years?

Otherwise, we would argue for a return to the days of smoke-filled rooms (although nowadays it would probably be the 'non-lethal' vapors of electronic cigarettes) at our national conventions where guys like Abraham Lincoln and FDR were chosen before the primary system took root in the early 1950's.

Whatever we did before 1952 seemed to work, didn't it? For the most part?

The current presidential primary system has deteriorated into an ESPN-esque, cartoonish version of democracy where candidates can't say what they really feel or want to do for the nation. When they do, they get mercilessly ripped to pieces by people in the media that none of us would ever vote for to represent us in the local PTA at our local school.

Seriously....can you even imagine listening to Chris Matthews in a PTA meeting? You would never be able to say anything!

Support the Florida Move to January 31. Maybe it will crack apart this archaic sclerotic primary selection process we now tolerate.

(Editor's Note: Frank Hill's resumé includes working as chief of staff for Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Alex McMillan, serving on the House Budget Committee and serving on the Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He takes on politics from a fiercely independent perspective at the blog Telemachus).


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Why not hold all primaries on the same day?!

  3. Why not go back to the convention method? We got guys like Lincoln out of they can't be all that bad

  4. Yes Frank, I think there are many things that our nation needs to go 'back' to... Constitution being the main thing.


Commenting here is a privilege, not a right. Comments that contain cursing or insults and those failing to add to the discussion will be summarily deleted.