Skip to main content

I don't think anyone is completely happy with the way Presidential elections are run in this country; maybe some pundits and "beltway insiders" have grown to enjoy the predictability of the way elections play out, so they can sound smart on TV and other media forums, but the rest of us just put up with it because we're used to it. Obviously there is an obscene amount of money being put into these elections (and more and more non-presidential elections as well), and I'm totally in favor of rigorous campaign finance reform, as well as the overturning of Citizen's United....unfortunately those kinds of reform have become incredibly politicized and would take a great amount of political capital and willpower to properly fix.

Instead, I have a couple of fairly simple and  (what I consider to be) non-partisan ideas to change the Presidential elections, so the entire process is a lot more palatable:

1.) Eliminate the electoral college. I'm certainly not the first person to propose this, but it's the most obvious, and necessary, adjustment. Everyone has one vote, but not all votes are equal, and it's ridiculous how Presidential campaigns transform America into less than a dozen battleground states. I live just outside of Seattle, and the state of Washington has just about the same number of electoral points as Ohio, but guess how many times Presidential campaigns come here compared to there? And then compare Presidential campaigning in Ohio to California, Texas and New York, the three biggest states in the country. The electoral college is an antiquated idea; we changed the constitution so that we could vote directly for US senators, and this is another change we have to make.

2.) Rotate the primary states. Would there even be such a thing as ethanol subsidies if it weren't for the Iowa caucuses? There is a clear advantage for a state having a Presidential primary earlier in the year, and there are only two outcomes: More states will schedule their primaries in early January, which means Presidential campaigns will start even earlier to properly campaign in more and more of these early primaries, of someone is going to take these early primaries away from Iowa and New Hampshire (states that are hardly representative of the nation at large). Instead of rewarding some other, arbitrary states(s) with once was were the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries ( as well as South Carolina), we should take the entire primary schedule, break it up into 3 equal segments, and rotate the segments every Presidential cycle. This way, states that have fallen in the back of the primary schedule can occasionally glow in the limelight of early primary debate, the schedules won't be completely random so that voters will be confused when their primary takes place, and Iowa/New Hampshire/South Carolina can still enjoy their current status once every 12 years.
* Maybe there are some states that prefer to have their primaries later in the year, for some reason, and I'm sure some kind of accommodation could be met for those that have a legitimate need to stay put, but sometimes change is for the better good, even if it inconveniences some***

3.) Move the election day up, preferably before autumn begins. Not only are we no longer an agricultural society that needs to schedule our elections after the harvest ends, we are also a technological society advanced enough to take a few minutes to drive to a local polling place to vote, not to mention the ability to mail in your ballot early if you so happen to be really busy farming. So, why wait until early November for the election, when the weather is getting colder and rainier, and schedule them for late August or early September? Considering most Presidential campaigns start before January anyway, why do we make this process drag out for almost a full year? Are long campaign seasons part of the reason why we've grown so frustrated with the entire process? How about we get both conventions over with in early June -- even the most contested primary battles usually resolved before Memorial Day -- then we still have approximately 3 months to go until the general elections, and this way all the political ads and debates can be done during the summer, without interrupting football games, the baseball playoffs and the fall season of new shows on network TV. If  Presidential candidate cannot establish him/herself between January and September, then there is something wrong with said candidate. And I'm fairly certain that most undecided voters stay undecided until being pressed into actually voting; condensing the voting schedule to 9 months (and probably more than that) shouldn't prevent anyone from getting the information they need to make an informed decision (and if we start the conventions earlier, the nominees will still have the same amount of time to lure voters as they do now).

I can't see how making these changes benefits the Democrats or Republicans, liberal or conservatives, young voters or old voters, white voters or minorities, especially if we make these changes SOON (like, in the next year), so that all the 2016 candidates will understand exactly what changes have been made, and adjust accordingly. In the end, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Florida will lose a little luster, but the people  who benefit will be EVERYONE ELSE.


How would you improve Presidential elections?

0%0 votes
33%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
16%1 votes
50%3 votes
0%0 votes

| 6 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I don't agree with eliminating the EC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, a2nite

    We are the United States of America and States have meaning. That's why every State gets 2 Senators as well.

    Besides, Arizona is still counting votes. Who wants to have to wait weeks to find out who won the Presidential election.

    The Primary State thing is up to each Party to decide, so that's easy to change if enough folks want it.

    The third proposal would require a Constitutional Amendment. Frankly, I'd rather focus on an Amendment to make voting compulsory as I feel that would have the greatest and most positive impact on our political system.

    •  actually congress picks election day (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      therealfakejake, JGibson

      so that wouldn't require an amendment. sorry.

    •  It's ridiculous that some states take so long (0+ / 0-)

      All states need to count all their votes in a timely manner, no matter if we stick with the EC or not.  Also, if we hold elections around Labor Day, then we have more time to put up with these (hopefully rare) delays. This problem shouldn't prevent much-needed improvements from being implemented.

      And as far as the primaries go, if one party made substantial changes to their primary schedule, the other one will probably follow suit. Neither side benefits from a dozen states holding their primaries on January 2nd, which is the dilemma we"re currently heading towards.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site