Presidential Primary, 2024: A Modest Proposal

Dear Friends,

Regardless of who “wins” the Iowa Caucuses, this much is clear: 2020 should be the last time the Iowa Caucuses kick-off a presidential election.

To be clear, the process leading up to the Caucuses is immensely important. Giving voters a chance to meet the candidates personally, questioning them, getting to know them in real life instead of through polished ads — those attributes of our process are essential if we hope to avoid the complete Bloombergization of the American political experience.

What has to go is the Caucus itself. Iowa needs to institute a primary, where everyone has a chance to vote and every vote counts. Yup. We need to do that, even if it means Iowa no longer goes first.

But someone needs to go first. Right now, the mix of a Midwestern state (Iowa), a northeastern state (New Hampshire), a western state (Nevada), and a southern state (South Carolina) is an equitable way to launch the first month of voting. We can and should keep that going and, over time, give every state a chance to share that opportunity.

Here’s what one possibility might look like in 2024:

Voting would begin on Tuesday, February 6. One state would vote each of the first six Tuesdays. We give states with the smallest populations precedence, since that allows the greatest candidate exposure. After that, four states, roughly in the same region, would vote each week through May 28 — something like this:

Feb 6 – Wyoming
Feb 13 – Vermont
Feb 20 – West Virginia
Feb 27 – North Dakota
Mar 5 – South Dakota
Mar 12 – Alaska
Mar 19 – Delaware, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire
Mar 26 – Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah
Apr 2 – Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana
Apr 9 – Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota
Apr 16 – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey
Apr 23 – New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California
Apr 30 – Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina
May 7 – Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio
May 14 – Georgia, Florida, Texas, Missouri
May 21 – Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois
May 28 – Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii

In 2028, those who were last would get to go first, and the first six states to vote in 2024 would move their primaries to March.

There you go. Solving that problem wasn’t so hard after all, was it. — Ed


4 Replies to “Presidential Primary, 2024: A Modest Proposal”

  1. Max

    Sure Ed, it’s always gotta be the way you want it. Of course I’m being sarcastic. It’s gonna be a cataclysmic fight because in this country right now it’s about me it’s not about you it’s not about the country it’s about me and my stuff my state. I’m thinking I’d like to see the governors of all 50 States involved in a round Robin single Elimination fight to the death. Whoever comes out on top goes 1st period the other 49 States will have to elect a new governor and we willhave to go through this process repeatedly. As opposed to death I suppose they could go into some kind of a Gladiator physical contests like they have on TV and whoever can win that will go 1st. actually the best times in in descending order will is how they will go.

    1. Max

      Wait, new idea. Every state has to put a tax incentive package together to lure each party to their state whoever gives a most money to the individual candidates or parties winds up getting the 1st primary. Understand that money equals voting so like if taxes wants to give 5 billion dollars a can or New York if they want to give 6 billion dollars a can. That’s way a democracy is supposed to work

      1. Max

        Maybe before we figure out the order with which each state goes we just standardize a procedure. It’s a little bit silly to think in this day that we’re gonna go to paper needs to be handled electronically and secured with a way of cross checking your vote as a check. Standardized procedure across 50 States all parties. Then figure out what order they go in and maybe it’s a lottery

  2. Brett

    What is the reason the IDP continues to run the caucus by having people wander around a room and calling out large groups of their constituents as being ‘non-viable’ in their opinions? IA-GOP still calls their gatherings a caucus, but after listening to candidate spokespersons, everyone just votes, they total the votes up if you want to stay and listen, and then announce the results for individual caucus sites. A couple hours later, they announce the total vote numbers. Not as much fun as watching the chaos of the IDP process, but much more straight forward.

    I also think that there are a number of other issues with the way the caucus is run besides the fact that they couldn’t get an app to work. 1. who and how do they decide how many delegates are apportioned to a site? 2. They have no way to get a significant portion of the electorate involved with a multi-hour event late on a school night 3. Under current rules, a large percentage of people leave, feeling that their opinions are not valid.