Given the buyer’s remorse over Senator John Kerry that emerging on the Democratic side, one wonders if it was such a good strategy to pick the nominee so early. Given that only the political junkies really pay attention before September, the early choice doesn’t seem to be such a good idea unless one has a very strong candidate. And in that case, the early choice isn’t going to make much of a difference.
However, there’s a big problem which is the primary schedule. Given how it’s set up, it’s hard to push the presidential candidate selection later. What I would do is move the schedule pack while bulking it up. Have a “Super Tuesday” every two weeks, but don’t start it until April or May. The whole Iowa / New Hampshire thing is loony (given that those states are inhabited by Moira Breen and Orrin Judd respectively) and clearly a fading influence. Why wait until candidates start deliberately skipping the contests?
One of the reasons that the schedule has shifted early is the Clinton “permanent campaign”, which worked out well for Clinton but doesn’t seem to have done much for the rest of the Democratic Party. It didn’t help Dole much either. But I suspect that because the parties would have to agree on the schedule, we will continue to see the gradually shifting of primaries earlier and earlier, like new model years for cars. Eventually even smoke filled rooms will seem like a better idea.