April 25, 2008 | The nation has been condemned to Purgatory. There can be no other explanation for this presidential primary season that will not end.
Before the primaries started, states were elbowing each other aside to have an early primary so their votes would "count" in the selection of the presidential candidates. The irony is that it will be the last states to vote that may actually determine the outcome, if then. For the Democratic party that means Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota!
Remaining Democratic Primary Contests
Sat, May 3
Tue, May 6
Tue, May 13
Tue, May 20
Sun, Jun 1
Tue, Jun 3
Recall the frenzy that Wolf Blitzer worked himself into for Pennsylvania? Just imagine how he'll hyperventilate about Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota!
It's a good thing the Republican candidate is already a fait accompli, for the last scheduled GOP primary is not until July 12 when Nebraska's 33 delegates are at stake.
This is no way to select presidential candidates! The reforms needed are obvious.
Limit the length of campaigns. Elected officials should spend their time carrying out their office, not running for the next election. The Canadians' longest election campaign, in 1926, was only 74 days. The Brits likewise constrain their campaigns to a short period of time.
Limit the amount of money that can be spent. Through March, the presidential candidates have raised $866,326,948 (Opensecrets.org). By the time the general election is over in November, the total will be over one billion dollars.
Make primaries consistent. The presidency is a national office and primary voters should all have the same choices regardless of which state they live in. All the primaries, for all parties, should be held on the same day. In the alternative, have four primaries one month apart, with the states selected at random.
Eliminate public opinion polls that turn the campaigns into a horse race. The reason we have the election is to make the choice; it shouldn't be done through pollsters.
Stop the debates. Give each candidate an equal amount of time to speak on a single topic. Follow the speeches by a question period in which each candidate is allowed an equal amount of time to question opponents. Have candidates from both parties speak on the same topics. Better yet, let people vote à la American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, and the ones with the lowest scores are eliminated.
Ban immediate family members of former presidents from being candidates for president. Nepotism is so unattractive.
If you want to run for president, you must resign your current elected office. Put some skin in the game.
When the Democratic field narrowed to three — Clinton, Edwards, Obama — I would have been happy to have any of them as the candidate. But no more. Hillary may be winning over older white women, but she has lost me. She and Bill have shown their true colors, and it's not pretty.