Complaining about the mass media doing a poor job is like shooting fish in a barrel. Mostly I leave it to A Daily Show and the Colbert Report. But this one I’ve got to comment on.
I’m really annoyed by all the coverage of New Hampshire. To read the headlines it would seem like Hillary Clinton had a huge defeat of Barack Obama. She did “win”, but by 2 percentage points. But, and this is a big one, both Iowa and New Hampshire are not winner take all states- you get delegates proportional to your votes. So Obama’s “big win” in Iowa gave him 16 delegates to Clinton’s 15. And in New Hampshire, they each got 9. In other words, in the real impact, its a tie.
Meanwhile, to hear the pundits talk about it, Mitt Romney is just sucking wind, with two second place finishes. Again, until you look at the delegate count and see that he is leading with 24, compared to Huckabee in 2nd place with 18. It is just AMAZING that no one in the press has mentioned this (that I’ve seen, but granted I have very little patience for the inane commentary on TV, so my sources are the NY Times, Slate, etc).
Furthermore I continue to be annoyed with the way that the press and politicians are barely covering the big scandal, which is how Iowa and New Hampshire continue to use thuggish tactics to maintain their up front primary and caucus roles, disenfranchising 99% of the US population from much of the election process. These two states are a very poor representation of America. They are both more than 95% white, to the extent that they have any minorities, they don’t represent the Hispanic and Asian immigrants who are becoming very much a part of America, and even more important to me, they don’t have ANY major cities (the closest either comes are the parts of New Hampshire that are effectively Boston suburbs and those are pretty far out there). Some of the key political issues are involving the differences between urban and rural issues and to let two states with no major cities have this kind of role is crazy for a society where more and more of the population is living in those big cities.
I’ll save complaining about the caucus system (typical voter turnout- 1-3%), for another post.
But the bottom line is that the major politicians and the party infrastructure both kiss these states butts, and it really has to stop. The extreme here is the way the Democrats have pretty much banned their candidates from campaigning in Michigan or Florida. Are they crazy??? Florida, hmmm, that really sounds like a good state to piss off the electorate.
There are several good proposals of rotating regional primary days that can give fair opportunities to various regions of the country and keep things so that candidates don’t have to criss-cross the country constantly. Maybe now that Iowa and New Hampshire are behind us we can have some leaders with the guts to proclaim 2008 the last election where these guys go first.