« I survived the blizzard of 2016...open thread! | Main | The Meaning(lessness) of Iowa »

February 01, 2016

Comments

"...they're much more rural, and they're much, much whiter."

At this point, I'm cynical enough to believe this is not unintentional.

I don't care about the demographics, but am of the opinion that "smaller number of delegates goes earlier".

So if NY wants to move its primary to Feb, okay, but it'll get the same number of delegates as NH.

And if NH wants to move to even EARLIER to keep 'first in the nation' status, okay, they get ZERO.

that doesn't mean they're the best possible choices..

But given those making the choice are the states themselves, and the two parties, in this case a rational argument is unlikely to be a persuasive argument.

And in any event, which state is foolish enough to volunteer to undergo such an ordeal every four years ?

I'm trying to get my head around a 'most representative' list including OK and KS, and also CT and RI.

IL makes sense, though.

I don't think the foursome of IA, NH, SC, and NV are too bad, really. Three of the four are swing states, so it's very important to get the read on how the swing states are going. As you say, they are small, so they don't cost so much. Though IA and NH are too white, they are followed by SC, with its high % of POC in the Democratic ranks, and NV, with a high Hispanic %.
I don't like the caucus format in IA, and I would suggest that the biggest problem is the ridiculous level of PAC TV ad spending and polling leading up to their voting. I would much prefer something be done about those two.

And I don't think Oklahoma, Kansas, or Illinois are very representative of the US. Florida is, and it should be the first primary of the big leagues, after the initial four warm-ups.

the javascript on the page here could use a little massaging. looks like typepad tried to turn it into text.

You'd think that any sane political party would want to select, as its presidential candidate, a person who appeals to the country as a whole. You'd think, therefore, that any sane political party which relies on primaries to select its candidate would decide, out of sheer self-interest, to hold its early primaries in states that mirror the country as a whole. So: are America's political parties insane, or what?

And why do political parties get to use government resources to do their private business anyway? Political parties are private associations; selecting a candidate to offer to the general electorate is their private business -- or should be.

Long ago, when my kid sister was in 7th grade or so, she had to write an essay for social studies class about the difference between the US and the USSR. She asked me for advice and I said something like: "Well, they only have one party, and we have two." I don't remember whether she picked up on the snark or not.

For all our partisanship, our major parties seem able to agree on a primary election calendar. If we (but who is "we", kimosabe?) could withdraw public resources from the primary process, and let the parties organize and fund their own market-testing efforts, we might in fact see the GOP start its primary campaign in Florida in February and the Dems start theirs in Illinois in March. Maybe that would be a good thing, maybe not.

--TP

*Philip Bump. One "l".

I am not one of Bump's bigger fans, but this article seems to make a fairly decent point. It's worth talking over.

I see Graham's stuff in my Facebook feed all the time because I went to HS with his mother. And my brother is married to his mother's cousin, or something like that.

It's not really all that inbred where I come from, honest. But I did, through a similar set of oddities, wind up being related to my college roommate when he married my sister-in-law's sister.

cleek:

Thanks for the heads-up, I turned it into an iframe.

You'd think that any sane political party would want to select, as its presidential candidate, a person who appeals to the country as a whole. You'd think, therefore, that any sane political party which relies on primaries to select its candidate would decide, out of sheer self-interest, to hold its early primaries in states that mirror the country as a whole.

I'm not so sure that this is the best way to get there. Because I think what a party would want is a state whose population of their party members most closely mirrors the voting population of the country as a whole. Thus the best states for the Republicans to start in might be Maine and North Carolina. Maine's population as a whole might not be representative. But Maine's Republican voters might be more representative than those in Kansas or Connecticut.

I guess what I'm saying is, you can't just look at the whole population of a state. To get the best state for your party to start in, you need to look at your party's voters in that state. Or, if you are working to get a bigger tent, the state where voters in the groups you are trying to bring in most closely resemble their portion of the overall population.

russell:

I'm trying to get my head around a 'most representative' list including OK and KS, and also CT and RI.

Well, it's "most representative" of the *small* states, remember. And it's very difficult for a small state to be really representative, because they tend to be more uniform than the nation.

A lot of it is racial mix. If you zero out the non-racial factors, you get #1 CT, then RI, NV, AR, OK. If you do the same thing on Bump's tool for the whole nation, CT is #2 to IL, and RI is #3.

It's not really all that inbred where I come from, honest. But I did, through a similar set of oddities, wind up being related to my college roommate when he married my sister-in-law's sister.

For most of us, "it's a very small world we live in." In my career, I keep running into the same people, or at least people who know the same people. Why? Because there just aren't that many people, not just in the country but world-wide, in the field.

I would point out also that your sister-in-law's sister's husband (i.e. your college roommate) is 4 steps from you. And, as I recall, six steps (based on who each person knows well enough to get an introduction thru) is supposed to be able to get you to anyone on earth. For example, I can get to almost any of the national leaders in Europe in 3-4 steps -- 2-3 steps (via Congressmen I or my boss know personally) to President Obama, and from there....

It's not quite blood/marriage relationships like you are talking about. But it does give an idea of just how closely we all seem to be.

Thank God it's not god-besotted Brownback-ridden Kansas instead of Iowa.
The eastern half of Iowa (which gave you four decades of liberal warhorse and policy wonk Tom Harkin) is just strong enough to keep the worst of the theocratic tide at bay. So far, anyway.

And they probably would have elected a Democratic successor to Harkin had they put up a non-sh1tting his own bed candidate. Alas, they now have Joni until she retire. Maybe they can replace Grassley with a D when he retires (if he ever does).

russell:

That's right, of course. Where might such data be, do you think?

When I think about how polarized (tribalized) the country is, though, I don't know if such states exist. For instance, *is* there a state where 10% of the Republican voters are black? Or where 25% of the Democratic voters are evangelicals?

Well, it's "most representative" of the *small* states, remember.

Yeah, I was just trying to figure out how (frex) RI and OK could end up on the same list of 'representative' states.

It's hard to think of two places that are more un-alike.

We contain multitudes, and then some, apparently.

russell:

RI and OK are about the same distance from the national average, but in different directions. They both have a similar, smaller proportion of blacks than the nation, but Rhode Island has a larger Hispanic population, closer to the national average (I have no idea if this figure includes Portuguese-Americans, many of whom live in RI and get cranky if you call them "Hispanic".)

Jim Stoner:

(I just pulled your comment out of the spam dungeon)

What makes you say that Illinois is "not very representative of the US"? When I look at Bump's data for IL and FL, IL is definitely more representative: it tracks the racial and age makeup of the country *very* closely, while FL's population is a good deal older and a good deal more Hispanic (and foreign-born) than the nation as a whole. They're both more urban than the US average, but by about the same amount.

And why do political parties get to use government resources to do their private business anyway? Political parties are private associations; selecting a candidate to offer to the general electorate is their private business -- or should be.
I don't know if this is a very complete answer, but government-run primaries seem to have been a Progressive-era reform. There was a lot of trying to fix things by putting more democracy in them.

Age 65 and older in Florida: 25 percent of the population.

Age 65 and older in the entire US: 13 percent of the population.

Just to pick one random difference.

Scratch the above; that was projected.

2010 actuals are:

17.1% of Florida's population is over 65.

What makes you say that Illinois is "not very representative of the US"?

I'll concede the point, but only in a really broad almost strictly-numeric sense. It's a Midwestern state, not a Western state or a Southern State or a Northeastern state. I'm not sure, for example, that Chicago's urban blacks share the same problems and issues as Mississippi, where the black population is spread out in the counties along the River. My own opinion is that we're in a period where regional differences are becoming more important, not less.

So maybe the problem here is that no state is particularly representative of the country as a whole. That means you're left with figuring out which of them are the most representative, as a matter of picking the few least-bad choices out of a larger number of choices that are all bad to varying degrees.

(I don't particularly want to eat moldy cheese, but I'd choose it over a dog turd without hesitating.)

The problem gets easier when you realize that you don't really need to find one state that is really representative. You could find 3-4 that cover the major variations, and hold the first primaries there.

Then the half dozen next-most representative for the next set of primaries, etc.

That way you get your moldy cheese in blue cheese dressing, where you don't have to think about the mold. ;-)

What I was trying to get at in commenting about OK vs RI was not so much the demographic differences or similarities, but the cultural ones.

Culturally, they could be different countries.

Some of that is the religious aspect, which is kind of measurable, but it goes much further than that, and in ways that are probably a lot harder to quantify a la Bump.

we're in a period where regional differences are becoming more important, not less

This is (for me, anyway) a thought-provoking statement.

I don't think that regional differences per se are any more pronounced now that at previous times. If anything, probably the opposite.

That said, I agree that they may be becoming more important.

At this point, it seems to me that regional differences, or at least differences that can be approximately correlated to geographic regions, are making the nation more or less ungovernable.

I'm not sure if that situation is any worse than in previous years in terms of the actual differences on the ground, but it does seem to me that we used to be able to basically get stuff done in ways that we don't seem to be now.

The time period I'm considering when thinking about this is basically my own lifetime, so mid-1950's to now.

If you pick other times, you can probably find examples where the situation was worse.

What I was trying to get at in commenting about OK vs RI was not so much the demographic differences or similarities, but the cultural ones.

Culturally, they could be different countries.

Some of that is the religious aspect, which is kind of measurable, but it goes much further than that, and in ways that are probably a lot harder to quantify a la Bump.

we're in a period where regional differences are becoming more important, not less

This is (for me, anyway) a thought-provoking statement.

I don't think that regional differences per se are any more pronounced now that at previous times. If anything, probably the opposite.

That said, I agree that they may be becoming more important.

At this point, it seems to me that regional differences, or at least differences that can be approximately correlated to geographic regions, are making the nation more or less ungovernable.

I'm not sure if that situation is any worse than in previous years in terms of the actual differences on the ground, but it does seem to me that we used to be able to basically get stuff done in ways that we don't seem to be now.

The time period I'm considering when thinking about this is basically my own lifetime, so mid-1950's to now.

If you pick other times, you can probably find examples where the situation was worse.

We're going to start calling you "russell two-times."

What I find more interesting than the regional differences which up and smack you in the eye are the changes within the regions.

For example, Virginia is almost finished moving from a Southern state to being a mid-Atlantic one (i.e. more like Maryland or New Jersey than like Alabama or Mississippi). North Carolina is well down the same path and moving briskly along. And Georgia and even South Carolina are starting to look rather more like the rest of the country than like the region (or at least the stereotype of the region) where they are physically.

So I would say rather that it is the real bastions of the various regions are becoming more different from the bulk of the country. Partly because people there feel more threatened because they are ever more alone. And they are.

It doesn't just apply to the South. The folks in Iowa, especially rural Iowa, feel like the rest of the country is moving away from them. And with reason.

The country has been far more unban than rural for decades. But we are leaving the time when the image of the yoeman farmer was something that most of the country valued, and to some significant extent viewed as quintessentially American. In response the rural folks in Iowa embrace those, like Trump and Cruz, who give voice to their feeling, their accurate feeling, of being threatened. Not physically or even, really, economically, but culturally.

"Not physically or even, really, economically, but culturally."

Jodi Ernst packs heat. She threatens us physically.

We're going to start calling you "russell two-times."

Or, just 'uses firefox'. :(

their feeling, their accurate feeling, of being threatened.

I wonder how many of them realize how common that feeling is.

We're living in the age of creative destruction. They may feel alone, but they aren't. Not as regards having the world shift under them, anyway.

Can't really blame Firefox for the double posts (although which release you are on might matter). Firefox hasn't done that to me. Yet.

To what extent does "value my way of life" = "support the subsidies I get"?

If you can't maintain your way of life without those subsidies. Or, at least, don't think you would be able to.

we are leaving the time when the image of the yoeman farmer was something that most of the country valued, and to some significant extent viewed as quintessentially American.

FWIW, this is the thing that I find objectionable in the sense that the, for lack of a better word, 'heartland' is being abandoned.

The story of the yeoman mid-western farmer is an American narrative, but it is not *the* quintessential American narrative.

There is no quintessential American narrative. At least, none that has any pride of place over others.

I can easily understand why folks in, for example, Iowa, would feel sad, or angry, or resentful, or at a minimum conflicted, about the way of life they grew up with going away, due to broader social, economic, and political changes.

A lot of people, who come from a lot of other backgrounds, each of which is *equally quintessentially American*, are having the same experience.

Folks need to look a little more broadly than their own immediate experience.

Or, rather, they don't need to, it would just be really helpful if they would.

A lot of people used to be ship builders where I live. They helped win the war. Then America turned its back on them.

(That's not how I really feel about it, but it's just as good as any other story.)

Folks need to look a little more broadly than their own immediate experience.

I have that argument with people from New York City and San Francisco regularly :^)

Do you know how many Democratic state governors there are between the Appalachians and the Sierras? Five. Of those, Colorado and Montana were close last time, and Louisiana was a gift. Speaking as a reasonably progressive person living in the Mountain West, I am paranoid that the national Democratic Party has simply given up on that enormous expanse, and except for the electoral votes, is just going through the motions.

I am paranoid that the national Democratic Party has simply given up on that enormous expanse

The most significant constructive insight that has come from the (D) in the last 50 years, IMO, was Howard Dean's insistence on maintaining and active (D) presence in all 50 states.

IMO you are correct, (D)'s quite often (and still) ignore places that they don't think they are going to do well in, electorally.

That is no small part of why they don't do well in those places, electorally.

I am paranoid that the national Democratic Party has simply given up on that enormous expanse

And not without reason. The biggest mistake that the Democrats made in the past 8 years (speaking as a non-Democrat) was failing to focus on the 2010 state elections. A few more states with Democratic, or at least split, state legislatures and the situation in Congress would be far more to their liking.

The question is, have they learned from that experience? More, have they even realized that it was a problem?

Having complained, I should also add that the R's in the Mountain West have to be considered at least somewhat less insane. For example, five of the eight Mountain West states have expanded Medicaid and the Republican governors of the other three are publicly in favor of doing so. The difference? IMO, citizen initiatives.

Independent redistricting commissions (makes gerrymanders more difficult). Much heavier use of vote by mail (makes polling place intimidation more difficult). Steady liberalization of state laws on marijuana. In Arizona, there are conservative state legislators lobbying for marijuana legalization -- because if legalization is done by initiative, the legislature can't touch those statutes for five years. Colorado will be voting on an initiative this year to decide whether the state should implement a (sort of) single-payer health insurance system. That's a debate that couldn't possibly happen in the legislature. (I expect it to fail, but if it's anywhere close it sends a hell of a message.)

The biggest mistake that the Democrats made in the past 8 years (speaking as a non-Democrat) was failing to focus on the 2010 state elections.

We were thrashed, that's for sure. But "failing to focus"? I'll need some evidence for that claim.

My take is the Dems need to win the population growth war to create more House districts in urban areas where our votes tend to be concentrated.

But that is a long road....surely not an easy one.

See here for example.

(D)'s quite often (and still) ignore places that they don't think they are going to do well in, electorally.

They spend money where there are Democrats. The Party could spend tens of millions in Wyoming and get exactly squat. There is also this thing called "constraints" on available resources.

Now some would say the party needs to "move to the middle" in purple states. The counterfactual is the GOP has done just fine in those states, but move to the middle? Are you kidding me?

There must be something else going on here.

Just pointing out that Rhode Island is indeed the center of the universe (specifically, my lil patch, including the turkeys and deer).

We were thrashed, that's for sure. But "failing to focus"? I'll need some evidence for that claim.

Do you think the Democrats could have made anything like the 2008 get-out-the-vote effort and still lost so badly? Look at the drop-off in votes, compared to 2008. The Republican votes in 2010 dropped somewhat, albeit rather less than the usual off-year drop. The Democratic votes dropped 2-3 times as much as usual.

The Democrats are winning the population/demographic war. Or, more accurately, the Republicans seem determined to lose it. But setting yourselves up to be gerrymandered will keep that from mattering for far longer than it should.

The 2008 voter effort was fueled by the utter disaster of the Bush administration(s), an unfolding economic disaster, and a charismatic candidate. All the stars aligned as it were.

2010 was a totally different story, and the GOP was energized by their issues. Blue dog Dems tried to run away from Obama and the ACA. They effectively took what base they had in their states with them. The gerrymanders hurt, but they do not amount to a significant number of seats.

I read where the Dem voters are bi-modal: Relatively well off and/or urban liberals, and the poors....not so much in the middle demographics-a contributing factor to off year woes.

Perhaps what the nation needs is yet another dose of GOP incompetence, but that is simply too high a price to pay.

OT, DrS -http://file770.com/?p=27316&c page=2#comment-394481

Does this shed any light on your concerns regarding artist noms in the Hugos? I am just pointing this out in case you missed it.

Why so complicated?

For some reason we can have the general election in a single day all over the country. Why not primaries?

Oh but it nationalizes the primary. Yeah so what? IA and NH are forgotten the day after the primaries anyway.And last I checked it is for President of the United States not GOP or DEM party chair.


The idea is to winnow down the field gradually. Which gives you a chance to at least see who is the most representative candidate.

Consider this scenario (not that unlikely a one): You have 6 candidates, no one of whom is the favorite of more than 20% of the party's voters. But one of them is the second choice of everybody who isn't for him as a first choice. And at least 40% of the voters intensely dislike each of the other candidates.

Obviously, your best choice is that guy who is everybody's second choice. But if you only have one big primary, you will never even know that was the case. With a series of primaries, you can start to see that. With one big primary, you can have a candidate selected who only a bare plurality can even stand . . . and in a big field, that might not be a very big percentage.

Now if you want to get into a primary ballot which allows you to designate first and second choices, and maybe an option to vote against a third individual as well, that might be a different story. But there is no sign of anything like that on the horizon.

wj, wouldn't swapping to Instant Runoff Vote for the actual election be better for that goal? Not only that, but it could also accomplish it better without having to stretch the primary season out forever.

Tsotate, the problem I see with the Instant Runnoff approach comes when there are lots of candidates. Like this time around. I may know which of the Democratic candidates I would prefer, since were are only three of them.

But beyond my first couple of Republican choices (pro and con), I have simply not had time to sort thru the positions of the various candidates. Do we really want the choice to come down to whoever lucked out among the middle tier of candidates? With time between primaries, there is time to do that.

Also, having all of the primaries at the same time (which is what would paulo was suggesting) would result in candidates only campaigning in the biggest media markets in the biggest states. Because that maximizes their return on investment of time and money. Today, it is worthwhile to campaign in the smaller initial states, if only for the increased visibility going in to the larger states' primaries.

I see the same problems, but worse, with skipping primaries altogether and just having a single Instant Runnoff general election. The savings (if it is) in reducing the number of elections is simply not worth it.

sort the the states by delegate count. divide that sequence into ten groups. starting with the first group (the smallest states), do the primaries for each state in the group on the same day. one week later, do the next group. it's over in ten weeks.

candidates will have five states each week, so they will have to pick and choose which states they want to target, so they can play to their strengths.

Cleek, that would work. Then the only problem is that the states set their own primary schedules.

Yes, the major parties could try to force the issue. Assuming that both would agree to it. On current evidence, getting them to just agree that the sun rises in the east is probably a bridge too far. Let alone anything more substantive.

i'd like to see an inter-party primary debate, too.

take the top four from each party and have a debate. because, even though it's a party-level election, knowing how the candidates handle themselves against the other party would be useful info.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad