07 June 2007

Replacing Iowa with Virtual Primaries

Primaries are supposedly designed to choose the candidates for each political party. Iowa and New Hampshire have for decades had disproportionate influence over national politics because their primaries are first in the nation.

But is this the best formula for helping each party choose the candidate most likely to represent the nation? A century ago, it was party elders who decided on this issue - not the rabble that needed to be won over on election day. In that sense, we've made progress.

But geography seems increasingly unimportant as we stroll into these latter days of the Information Age. The Internet has allowed a geography of ideology, a clustering of worldviews that transcends traditional geography. How much more interesting would it be to have a "virtual" primary in which candidates representing various ideological clusters were sorted through?

The polity could be diced and sliced in a variety of ways: religious affiliation, income, foreign policy or domestic policy philosophies, etc. When we have information technology that makes place irrelevant, why limit ourselves to primaries in states whose population is less than that of our major cities? We could have a variety of primaries, a smattering of which might look like this:
the evangelical primary,
the secular humanist primary,
the conspiracy theorist primary,
the parades and patriots primary
the legalize pot and provide free rock concerts primary, and, my favorite,
the apoliticals primary (the most sparsely attended and yet most representative)

Geography is so 20th century. It's time to go virtual, to embrace the geography of ideology. What better place to start than the presidential primaries?


Dave said...

Giving up the reality show now that, which was it, Fox?, stole your idea?

Ron Davison said...

Ailes over at Fox has been stealing my ideas for decades now. Wait. No. If I'm going to make a bold-faced lie I guess it ought to be for something other than taking credit for his work.

David said...

About about just replacing Iowa? Why does any of this matter? We're facing the prospect of a virtual presidency and who's to say it won't be better than it was the first time? Can it be worse?