Is the Presidential Primary process messed up? Perhaps it has its deficiencies, but it might be the best possible system.
The Democratic primary process has become long and drawn out. There has been a great amount of criticism given to it and the committee that designed it. Certainly this year it has not played out as envisioned, but I would argue that overall the system works as well as can be expected. I talked with a woman who is a loyal Democratic supporter who said she planned to vote for McCain because of the mess that has been created and the fact that the delegations from Florida and Michigan might not be seated. She argued that a national primary would be the way to go.
I could not disagree more. I like our slow start primary. Iowa and New Hampshire provide candidates with a unique opportunity. A one day national primary would have split the Democrats down the middle (40% Clinton, 25% Obama, 15% Edwards, etc...) Who is the nominee? Clinton because she won the most votes? Do the candidates get that percentage of the delegates. Let's look at the Republicans... how would they have done? Is it possible that a candidate like Ron Paul (someone who is not trully representative of the party one the greatest percentage of votes? Does he become the nominee?
The slow down one state at a time primary process USSUALLY allows candidates to build the necessary momentum to capture a clear majority of the delegates. More importantly, it lessens the importance of money. In a national campaign, the candidate with the most money wins. Iowa and New Hampshire negates some of the advantages of money. Candidates such as Mike Huckabee and John Edwards who have important messages, but might not have the fund raising capabilities of other campaigns have the chance to get their message heard. In a one day national primary their message would have been lost. Iowa gave them a platform and while they didn't ultimately win, they had their shot. Mike Huckabee might have secured for himself the number two spot on the ticket had he not made the tasteless joke about Barack Obama the other day.
While the primary process may be flawed, it might be the best system possible. I do think it should be tweaked however. The opening states should be rotated. It is not fair that one or two states hold so much power every year. That privilege and honor should be rotated around several small market states that still allow candidates with message, but little money to have their message heard.