Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Reality of the "Big Mo"

What is primary momentum in reality? The dictionary says that momentum is "force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events." In the political dictionary next to the definition of momentum it says: "The popularity or acceptance of the person who won the last state's caucus/primary."

However, let's be honest, in reality the idea of momentum is a stupid one. What it says is that people in state eight cannot come up with their own ideas or opinions about a certain candidate and instead just take the word of the past seven states before them. The sarcastic and skeptical say all that time, "Why are Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina sooooo important? They are just the start." The answer, it seems, for the average voter is that they are important because they are choosing who you will eventually vote for.

If states were truly committed to being independent about who they choose for the most powerful position in the land then it is highly unlikely (in an election of two equally qualified and legitimate Democratic candidates) that one of them should win eleven in a row except for that fact that State X simply decided to vote the same way State X -1 voted for.

In essence there is no way for true state primary independence can coexist with the ever powerful "primary momentum." The ideas are opposite. This is hard because there really is no way to fix this problem. The only way to do that would be to have all the primaries or caucuses on the same date. However that would take away what I think is an important part of the process which is to give the smaller states their seat at the table. A simple concession by states eight through fifty that they all sit and wait to see what the first seven do is all I ask.

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