The Sunshine State Outshines

by Laura Kirshner // Published July 3, 2007
Florida is indeed living up to its nickname as it outshines the rest of the country in the presidential primary process. The Sunshine state is effectively monopolizing the presidential primary spotlight by holding a January 29th primary, one week before half the nation votes on what I like to call 'Titanic Tuesday'.

Walter Shapiro recently wrote on the "Florida election mayhem" pointing out that Floridians have the Democratic Party in checkmate. Shapiro explains that Florida's early primary is inarguably a violation of DNC rules, thus it should automatically force sanctions upon the state's delegation at the National Convention. However, since both parties look to Florida as a key state in the general election, it is unlikely that those sanctions will come into effect. Florida is calling the parties' bluff and revealing the party rules for what they are: empty threats.

In addition to mucking up the primary schedule for the other early primary states and potentially reducing the influence of the pseudo-national primary on February 5th, Florida's actions also serve to reveal the impotence of DNC rules. If Florida can skirt the party rules without consequence, it sets a precedent that party rules only exist when they are convenient for the party. Even if the chaos is contained in the upcoming election year, this could spell true mayhem for future elections, where other states will point to Florida's model to justify moving their primaries wherever they wish without suffering sanctions at the national conventions.

So, not only is there no consequence for violating the rules, but there is little incentive to follow the rules in the first place.

For most citizens in the US (i.e. those who do not reside in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, or Florida) the sun has already set on their chances to fairly influence the upcoming presidential nomination process. The problems with the current system are becoming more evident as the primary season approaches with unprecedented acceleration, so the time is ripe to consider the proposed alternatives, such as the American Plan.