Primary move detrimental

Once again politicians are making it difficult for candidates to have a fair bid at presidential elections and are making money a bigger issue than in the past. Last Saturday the Democratic National Committee voted to move “Super Tuesday,” the first Tuesday of primary elections for the party, from the first Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday in February, while still allowing New Hampshire and Iowa to hold the first primaries in the last week of January.

While Democrats insist their candidates need all the leverage possible to run against the now-popular President George W. Bush, it is more likely that they are hurting all would-be contenders, Republican or Democrat. Extending the presidential race to almost nine months forces candidates to begin touring and campaigning ridiculously early, making campaign finances paramount.

With the earlier primaries’ announcement, several prospective Democratic candidates have already taken visits to New Hampshire and Iowa to gauge support for decision-making and have commenced White House fever. Prospective candidates will now need considerably more financial backing than the astronomical and highly debated past sums to even dream of competing. With campaign finance reform existing only in schematics of a few optimistic Senators, any rise in already exorbitant campaign finance should be avoided; the rise makes wielding political clout even easier for large corporations. In the midst of the Enron debacle, such a move’s dangers should be clear to both parties and, more importantly, the public they are supposed to serve.

Rushing primaries also pushes better-known contenders to the forefront, not allowing lesser-known candidates opportunity to gain recognition. Parties will settle on one candidate before voters have a chance to assess all contenders, possibly alienating them from the selection process.

Democrats insist that the former four-week lull in their own activities between New Hampshire primaries, Iowa caucuses and other states’ primaries unfairly shifted attention to Republicans. The new plan, Democrats say, will allow the party to rally around one contestant to oust Bush from office. Conversely, it forces Democratic candidates into crunched decision-making on a presidential bid before knowing where Bush’s numbers will come out.

Nearly all political experts agree that if any move is necessary, primaries should be later. Even Terry McAuliffe, Democratic Party chairman and the change’s engineer, stated moving all primaries to a later date is preferable, but insisted that measures to give Democrats the competitive edge are essential. This reinforces the changes’ true motives and their disregard to consequences other than the party’s personal goals. Democrats should not attempt to seize power in the election by strategic tricks that hinder a fair race.