The “Indiana Joe” Plan

Filed under:Politics,Priorities — posted by Anwyn on January 30, 2008 @ 9:33 am

My pain has been heard. Slublog’s friend Joe from Indiana (lotsa smart guys in Indiana) has a plan to break the states up into three groups and have a three-month settled primary. Doc Rampage was on the same track in the comments here.

The plan divides the states up into three groups selected numerically from a rank-ordering according to number of electoral votes. Thus each group of states has roughly 30 percent of the delegates. (Go read the details at the link–it’s actually not even that complicated.) I propose a rotational wrinkle: That instead of Slublog’s Group 1 going first in every primary, they should rotate each election cycle, starting with the presidential election and keeping their slot until the next presidential election.

It’s a sound plan. Doc Rampage was right that my toss-off “have them all at once” negates good campaigning, or rather, probably rewards poor campaigning. It’s tempting, in the age of mass media and the plurality of the kinds of media involved (print, radio, TV, internet), to write off personal campaigning as unnecessary, but voters deserve a chance to see up front how the would-be president interacts with real people on the ground. So the rotational-group plan focuses the candidates’ attention on groups of states, the same as now, but different states and more of them, so that more voters get a chance to put their first-choice stamp on the proceedings instead of taking leftovers.

The downside: It seems likely that more elections would end without a majority winner. But given that most of us have to give up our first choice and rally behind somebody we’re lukewarm at best about, that would just be putting into numbers the actual feeling of the voters. Isn’t that what elections are supposed to do?


  1. Cool. Now can he fix the BCS with some playoffs?

    Comment by Chuck Bell — January 30, 2008 @ 9:56 am

  2. Don’t even get me started.

    Comment by Anwyn — January 30, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  3. That plan is basically what Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has proposed and was a major reason for the push to have Michigan move up its primary to Jan 15 this year (prompting the DNC to vow that Michigan would seat no delegates). He claimed the change to the primary date was to highlight the stupidity behind the Iowa first status quo and to shine a light on his new plan (obviously, it didn’t do anything he had hoped for).

    Conyers plan called for 6 groupings of states that would rotate each election cycle. Sounds reasonable to me, but the DNC and RNC have their collective heads shoved so far up their rears they can’t seem to see the logic that 95% of the rest of us have already grasped…

    Comment by Chuck Foxtrot — January 30, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  4. This sounds a lot like the plan I was thinking of proposing when you suggested holding all primaries on one day. I didn’t get around to posting it then because we were too busy arguing over the merits of ain’t, comprised of, or whatever.

    Comment by Xrlq — January 30, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

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