Which Are the Primary States?

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I read that Representative Julian Castro suggested that the initial primaries be in states other than Iowa and New Hampshire as the populations of such states were not reflective of the population of the United States.

Whatever you think of his statement and the politics of the primaries, his comment raises a question that I wish the country would seriously address.

  • How and for whom should politicians govern?

On a state by state comparison, the United States is a very diverse country.  Montana and North Dakota are very different from New York and Virginia. Washington and Oregon are very different from Alabama and Mississippi. And California may be different from every other state.

  • Should politicians support only or primarily the interests of New York and California because they represent almost a controlling portion of the electorate and their issues are more regularly reported in the media?
  • Should the foregoing be answered differently during the campaigns and while the politician is in office?
  • Should politicians disregard the interests of Montana and North Dakota and their citizens because they do not have enough votes to decide an election?[1]
  • What recourse should Montana and North Dakota have if the politicians pledge during the campaign their issues and, once elected, they refuse to take any action to address those issues?

For the presidential primaries it may be appropriate to have the initial primaries in those states which have smaller populations. That may be the only time that their voices will be heard. If the smaller states’ primaries were held after those of New York, Illinois, California, and other large states, it might be that no one would campaign in those states and their citizens would have no chance to meet the next President or to express the issues of concern to them. Note the reluctance of the Democratic National Committee to spend money in California as it is a foregone conclusion that in federal elections the state will vote for the Democrat nominee.

I have no solution. I just request that people honestly think about this and consider how our politics can represent the entire citizenry.


[1]           This may be the case.  Note the comments from Professors Zucman and Saez, principal academic supporters of the proposed wealth tax, from their article in the Washington Post.  “Wealth taxes often failed in Europe. They wouldn’t here.” By Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez, Washington Post, Oct. 25, 2019 at 7:09 a.m. PDT

“The European wealth taxes … included myriad exemptions, deductions and other breaks that the Warren and Sanders plans forgo. …

“According to some commentators, any U.S. wealth tax would inevitably develop similar loopholes, even if it didn’t start off with them. But one reason such deductions were deemed politically necessary in Europe is that wealth taxes fell on a much broader population than those proposed here. In Warren’s plan, recall, all net wealth below $50 million is exempted; in the Sanders version, the exemption is $32 million. In Europe, wealth taxes have tended to start around $1 million, meaning they hit about 2 percent of the population, compared with about 0.1 percent for the proposed U.S. plans. “

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