The whiter shade of pale primaries are now over. The overwhelming whiteness of Iowa and New Hampshire, in context. The election results tell us nothing about the greater American electorate, which is far more diverse.
Iowa and New Hampshire have for far too long enjoyed “first in the nation” status with electorates that are not at all representative of America. They enjoy an outsized influence over our elections which is not merited, and is not healthy for our political process. This should be the last election that these states enjoy “first in the nation” status.
It is long past time that we fix this biased primary system. See Dylan Matthews at Vox.com, I’m from New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire primary has to go:
By putting Iowa and New Hampshire first, the Democratic and Republican parties are effectively saying that disproportionate power and influence should go to a small group of overwhelmingly white people in rural areas and small cities. That influence shouldn’t go to a state or region with a large Hispanic population. It shouldn’t go to a state or region with a large black population. It shouldn’t go to a state with large cities and a strong interest in urban issues. It should go to these people instead.
That does a profound disservice to the millions of Americans living in diverse, densely populated areas. Or, to put it more bluntly, it gives white people outsize power in determining nominees, and disenfranchises black, Hispanic, Asian Americans, and Native Americans relatively speaking.
If the first primaries were a combination of the populous states of California, New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois, we would get an entirely different assortment of candidates running for office to appeal to a far more diverse electorate that more closely resembles America. Rotating regional primaries or a national primary, as Dylan Matthews suggests in his post, would achieve the same result. But we must stop allowing sparsely populated uniformly white states to serve as the “gatekeeper” of our elections to vet the candidates and to winnow the field.
The results from New Hampshire on the Democratic side are a big win for Senator Bernie Sanders from the neighboring state of Vermont.
For some perspective, this is about the number of votes cast in the Tucson City Council Election and Pima County Bond Election last November, in which voter turnout was a low 39% in Pima County, and just over 36% in the City of Tucson.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump was the big winner. Governor John Kasich received fewer votes than Tucson City Council Members Regina Romero and Paul Cunningham, and just barely more votes than Council Member Shirley Scott. Tucson’s mayor and council trounced the rest of the GOP field in votes.
But if you listen to the Beltway media villagers today spin the results, you might think that New Hampshire is a big important state that has now winnowed the field and framed the rest of the primary election season as the “gatekeeper” of our elections.
Why does the media continue to pander to Iowa and New Hampshire? When all is said and done, in the end these states really do not matter in determining the eventual nominee of either party based upon delegates at the party conventions.
The outsized influence enjoyed by Iowa and New Hampshire is entirely in the media narrative that the Beltway media villagers spin about the significance of the early primaries in these states vetting the candidates.
NB: Barack Obama is the first and only African-American elected president. This does not negate the white bias inherent in the primary system. It only enhances Obama’s reputation as a great campaigner able to overcome great odds. It was truly a remarkable achievement.