Lowering Western Primary expectations
Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman (R) is saying that the number of state's that will participate in a likely to participate in the Western Primary will be three (UT, NM and AZ) and not six (take out MT, CO and WY). On a purely partisan basis, this isn't really bad news because two of the three states left are arguably stronger Democratic states that the ones that Huntsman now says aren't likely.
But, this isn't a partisan thing. If it was, I would be arguing for one big primary in the Northeast or a Pacific Coast primary to boost Democrats in places we are already strong. But, one of the points of the Western Primary is that it would help transform the Democratic Party from a Northeast/Pacific Coast party to a party from (partly) the West. Whichever Republican that said "...Democrats (in Utah) could be hurt because national candidates tend to be more liberal" is wrong in outlining the effects of a Western Primary. Only a certain type of Democratic candidate would bother spending time out West. Having a Western Primary at all, especially a big one, would even change who would be running to begin with.
If you make the path for the Presidency run West, you change the party.
So, I would argue that including some deep Red Western states where Democrats have shown some success (such as Wyoming with Gov. Dave and Montana with the big Schweitzer) is a vital part of the entire Western Primary.
Your Personal Note:
I would argue that a legitimate way to gain a voice is to not only combine the primaries, but to have them earlier - perhaps holding it in conjunction with the Oklahoma primary. Currently that primary is held at the same time as South Carolina and Minnesota and gets lost. Who cares what Oklahoma Dems want?
Oklahoma, NM, UT, and AZ, though, might be enough to really start gaining some attention. Maybe enough to pull Colorado back into the fold. That would give the West a real voice in picking an early front runner - and would give a Western Dem a distinct early edge that others would lack.
Posted by: Xpatriated Texan | Sep 1, 2005 5:28:37 AM
I agree. It isn't really a partisan thing, but having a western primary would help to move the party to a more western-centric view. But, the primary voters in these states are still bound to be the more liberal members of the party. Just how more moderate or sensible they will be than the folks who currently dominate the primary process is hard to predict.
Posted by: Mitch | Sep 2, 2005 12:41:16 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)