Changes to presidential primary process a good idea
President Obama hasn't even been sworn in yet for his second term after November's election and the next presidential election is already on the mind of one Arizona legislator.
Rep. Phil Lovas, R-Peoria, wants his fellow lawmakers to approve a measure in this legislative session that would give Arizona residents a bigger voice in who runs to occupy the White House in 2016 and thereafter.
His proposal would automatically set the date for the Arizona presidential preference primary on the same day as the Iowa caucus, traditionally the first vote in the nation for candidates for the presidency.
Iowa often ends up deciding who are the frontrunners in the presidential race by virtue of being first, even though it has one of the smaller populations in the nation. For that reason it gets an extreme amount of attention from hopefuls who will campaign there first and often.
In fact, some of those believed to be planning a run in 2016 have already started to make appearances in that state, even though they are not officially campaigning.
Lovas thinks that is unfair. He wants Arizonans to have a chance to vote on all the potential candidates, like Iowa does, instead of the handful that remain when our state votes a number of weeks later.
It may take some convincing for other lawmakers to go along. Republican and Democratic party leaders have opposed the usurpation of the Iowa privilege to go first in the past, as they have also done for New Hampshire, which traditionally goes second. They might try to find a way to “punish” the state for its action.
And the candidates also like the primaries to be spread out so they have time to space out their campaigning.
Still, Lovas has a good idea. Why should one state be favored over others? Why shouldn't Arizona get primary attention too?
But it is likely if Arizona succeeds in doing this, then other states would follow. So it might be wise to revise the legislation to say Arizona's presidential primary will align with whichever state is first, not just Iowa.
In fact, we might end up with most, if not all, states voting on the same day or at least within a short period of time. That wouldn't be bad – except perhaps for the candidates. It would replace the long, drawn-out – and frankly, sometimes boring – season of primary campaigning that now takes place.