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24 July 2006

Screw Iowa & New Hampshire!

Very seldomly do I venture into national politics, but I've been reading some the whining that's been done by New Hampshire Democrats over the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee vote to put some more diverse states ahead of their "first in the nation" primary.

Here's what Kathy Sullivan, the State Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said this past weekend, "the committee trampled on the grassroots tradition of the New Hampshire primary. Instead of going door to door and meeting the voters face to face, the candidates will spend millions of dollars on television advertising."

Tell me something, how many Democratic presidential winners have Iowa & New Hampshire picked in the last thirty years?

Aside from Jimmy Carter, in 1976, Iowa & New Hampshire has a tradition of picking losers. According to, not a single, non-incumbent Democratic presidential candidate that has won either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary has gone on to be victorious in the General Election. [Source: winners of the New Hampshire primary; winners of the Iowa caucuses]

I've never understood why Democrats have allowed two states with such a long, proven history of picking losers, a combined minority population of 14.5%, and a combined electoral vote total of 11 to have such a significant voice in the nomination process for our Party's presidential candidates.

We need some diversity in the Democratic nominating process, and I'm not just talking about race. When I say diversity, I mean that our presidential candidates need to be battle tested in states where conservative Democrats are the norm. Our presidential candidates need to be battled tested in every region of the country, not just the mid-west and the northeast.

As a Democrat, I feel that my vote and my voice in the presidential nominating process is disenfranchised because by the time many of the states that have populations that more accurately reflect the national population of these United States (including Georgia) hold their primaries and/or caucuses, the nomination process is all but over.

By the time I head to the polls to vote in Georgia's Democratic Presidential Primary, all I'm doing is rubber-stamping the result of what happened in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River. Georgia has 15 electoral votes. Georgia has at least 101 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Compare that to Iowa's 7 electoral votes and 57 delegates; and New Hampshire's 4 electoral votes and 27 delegates; and what you've got is a case where Georgia can buy and sell Iowa and New Hampshire at both the Democratic National Convention and in the electoral college.

Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats can cry and whine all they want about their "first-in-the-nation" caucuses and primaries being dilluted, but at the end of the day, it was bound to happen. Don't get it twisted; Iowa and New Hampshire don't represent the vast majority of Democrats across the country, and they definitely don't get to tell us who our presidential nominees are.

At least not anymore.

And if New Hampshire wants a fight, then let me be the first to say that if I'm lucky enough to go back to the Democratic National Convention as one of Georgia's delegates in 2008, I'll have no problems challenging the credentials of the New Hampshire delegation if they move their primary ahead as the new law signed by N.H. Governor John Lynch allows the Secretary of State to do. (Read the Political Wire article "New Hampshire Moves to Protect Primary")