There have been many complaints about the Democratic Primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but anyone reading this probably already has heard everything so I’m not going to go over all the complaints. I’m just going to offer how I would reform the primary, to make it better. Fixing the world is my thing, so yea.
Nobody would ever accept changing the status and place of the Iowa caucus, the New Hampshire primary, the Nevada caucus and the South Carolina primary, so I’m just going to leave those as they are. For the remaining 46 states, I would get rid of caucuses. Every state would be a primary, and an open primary. No closed primaries. The day to switch parties would be one week prior to voting day. I would get rid of Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday was created to sniff out grassroots campaigns. From South Carolina voting in late February to the last state to vote in the middle of June, I would have 5-6 states voting every other week, from the least populated state to the highest populated state. Using this year, this is what my reformed Democratic Party primary schedule would have looked like.
Monday, February 1st – Iowa Caucus
Tuesday, February 9th – New Hampshire Primary
Saturday, February 20th – Nevada Caucus
Saturday, February 27th – South Carolina Primary
Tuesday, March 1st – Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota
Tuesday, March 15th – Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine and Hawaii
Tuesday, March 29th – Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas, Utah
Tuesday, April 12th – Mississippi, Arkansas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon and Kentucky
Tuesday, April 26th – Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Maryland (Includes Washington D.C)
Tuesday, May 10th – Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, Massachusetts and Washington
Tuesday, May 24th – Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio
Tuesday, June 7th – Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas and California
Having a primary schedule like this would ensure that every state matters. It spreads out all the states evenly from least populated to most. Since the most delegates come at the end, candidates would have to campaign all the way to the end. A primary like this would allow grassroots campaigns to gather momentum in the small states while having time to build up operations in the bigger states. By having it go by population, it also allows the bigger states to have the final say at the end, they can completely change who wins the nomination if something comes up. If a candidate who’s ahead begins pivoting to the right for the general election, the big states still have the chance to give the nomination to the candidate who stays true to their progressive values.
This schedule would have been favorable to Bernie Sanders most likely, however it is not meant to specifically get candidates like him the nomination. It is simply to give them a truly fair chance. It benefits everyone really. The small states get to shape the early narrative of the race. The big states get more time to get to know the candidates. Races would be competitive until the end. Candidates who pivot to the right while the primary is ongoing would seriously risk blowing the nomination. It benefits the campaigns because they can do retail campaigning in the small early states, while building up their operations in the bigger states, thus limiting the power the media has in shaping the narrative of the candidates in the voters minds. It also makes every state important, because every two weeks, five or six states vote. If you do well one week, that momentum can carry over to the next set of states, which are slightly bigger and thus more important. Whereas if you do terrible one week, then your opponent has all the momentum going into the next set of bigger more important states. So it’d make you really campaign in every state, because every two weeks the stakes get bigger.
If I use the results of this year’s Democratic Primary race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, you’d probably see how the race could’ve gone very differently, and probably ended up with Sanders getting the nomination, just being honest.
Iowa – Hillary leads in delegates 23-21
New Hampshire – Bernie leads 36-32
Nevada – Hillary leads 52-51
South Carolina – Hillary leads 91-65
Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska – Bernie. North Dakota & South Dakota still to come, but likely Bernie. So far, tied 101-101
Montana yet to vote, but likely Bernie. Delaware – Hillary. Rhode Island, Maine and Hawaii – Bernie. Bernie leads 157-140
West Virginia and New Mexico yet to vote, but likely Bernie. Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas and Utah – Bernie. Bernie leads 240-171
Oregon and Kentucky yet to vote, likely a split. Mississippi, Arkansas, Connecticut – Hillary. Oklahoma – Bernie. Bernie leads 303-269
Louisiana, Alabama, Maryland – Hillary. Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin – Bernie. Hillary leads 505-495
So yea, under my reformed Democratic Primary schedule, this is where we would be at today. I’ll update the numbers when the last states all vote. Considering that North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, New Mexico and Oregon are all likely Bernie states while Kentucky is the only likely Hillary state, Bernie would probably have a small but decent lead at this point. The narrative of the race would be completely different. Hillary wouldn’t be pivoting to the right already. Bernie would still have a few but big southern states left, in which case he would’ve had a couple extra months to improve his polling with black people.
The states that’d be voting today would be Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, Massachusetts and Washington. Bernie and Hillary basically tied in Missouri and Massachusetts, but if they were voting today, Bernie would probably win. None the less, if those states voted the same way today, Bernie would end today with a 749-739 lead over Hillary. Again, that’s not including the delegates Bernie will pick up in some of the small states still to vote. Bernie would probably have a 30-50 delegate lead, not much but enough to have momentum, going into the next set of states to vote.
The next states to vote would be in two weeks on May 24th and they’d be Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Ohio. New Jersey hasn’t voted yet, so taking the other five states, if I take their actual results, Hillary would leave May 24th with a 1078-987 lead. Even if Hillary crushes Bernie in New Jersey, the small states still to vote would keep the delegate deficit for Bernie to under 100. So then, the difference would be less than 100 delegates going into the final six states to vote. Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas and California. The party nomination would be literally on the line on June 7th. I would get rid of super delegates in my reforms, so whoever finishes with more pledged delegates wins the nomination. It’d either be Bernie surges to a come from behind win or Hillary puts her foot down and finishes the deal.
So yea, that’s what I would have the Democratic Primary look like. No super delegates. All open primaries except for Iowa and Nevada caucuses. After South Carolina votes, 5-6 states vote every other Tuesday, from the least populated to the most populated. It makes candidates in the lead campaign all the way until the end, and allows candidates behind to make comebacks. It allows grassroots campaigns to gain early momentum and gives them time to build support from the bottom up in the big states. It makes the small states important by letting them shape the early narrative of the race, and allows the big states to have the final say. It’s a win-win-win-win-win-win for everyone, except perhaps the party establishment.