February 5th, 2008
02:30 PM ET

Changing the primary system?

People walk past a voting station February 5, 2008 on 'Super Tuesday' in New York City. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Today's Super Tuesday primary contests are of historic proportions. It's the biggest primary day ever, with 44 presidential nominating contests in 24 states and more than 2,700 delegates up for grabs. This represents more than 40% of the total Democratic and Republican delegates.

It's also probably the closest we've ever come to a national primary in this country. So why don't we go all the way? There are plenty of arguments to be made for allowing all 50 states to cast their primary votes at once.

The system as it stands now certainly has plenty of flaws: Candidates spend lots of time and money in the early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, even South Carolina. Many voters in those states get to meet the candidates up-close in their homes, churches, diners, schools.

These voters then narrow down the playing field for the rest of us. Consider this: over the summer, there were at least 18 candidates running in both parties. Now, there are essentially two major candidates on either side to choose from. That's a pretty dramatic reduction in choices based on voters in just a handful of states.

Also, we saw many states move up the dates of their primaries this year to have more influence on the outcome. For the candidates, that has meant a significantly compressed amount of time to campaign in nearly half of the country. For most voters, it likely means the closest they'll get to the candidates are a few 30 second commercials.

Here’s my question to you: How would you change the U.S. presidential primary system?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Joe writes:
Have a runoff election and do away with the conventions. One early national primary to narrow the field, and a late summer national primary to pick the candidate. Don't give me any of that 'elections are too expensive to have two.' Picking the leader of our nation is a more rational national expense than most of the pork Congress wastes our taxes on.

Martin from Michigan writes:
I would definitely make the voting system uniform for all the states. It's not fair to have some winner-take-all states and some proportional states. The two of them contradict each other, because while you have to work very hard to get some delegates in one proportional state, all your previous money and efforts are nearly wiped out if you lose a winner-take-all state. It's just not fair!

Evan writes:
Start off with eliminating the reliance on ludicrously frivolous and arguably incompetent major political parties. Make it about the people, not about the people controlling the people. If we start electing smaller people from smaller parties we may find that they have some pretty big ideas.

Sarah writes:
I think superdelegates should be done away with. It seems undemocratic that an individual has as much power as a community. As of last night, Hillary was ahead of Barack due to the support of superdelegates, which seems to be representative of the wants of a select few, not of the public.

Jeff writes:
A national primary would be an excellent idea. However, we would lose a lot of drama and Americans love drama.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. Chuck B Coastal NC

    simple, hold the primaries for all parties on one day(example: Feburary 5th), just like the general election.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  2. Michael "C" in Lorton, VA

    Think about this Jack..You have cacacuses to commit delegates; you have super delegagtes; you have the electoral college; you have winner take all; you have Fat Tuedsay, etc.etc. If the government was established by the people for the people, then why not decide who is going to be the president by "popular vote." It is simple and stupid. A majority of Americans have no idea under the current system who they are voting for. Example, I vote for candidate A, however candidate B had more delegates, more electoral votes and more of the other stuff......that my candidate lost because "winner take all." If Americans want "change", the let the popular vote decide; not some political salesman who will sell you the Brooklyn bridge to get elected.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  3. Ralph from New York

    Jack, I would change the system so that all delegates are decided as soon as possible, and we spend more time deciding on which Presidential candidate should be in the White House.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  4. TLC

    Jack, this is a wonderful question, one that I have been asking for several years. How about applying the KISS approach and let the people that live in our country decide who gets the nomination. Of course this would mean democracy and the parties, nor the states aren't into this aspect of government. Have the primaries during one week from July 1-8 for all states and anyone with an American drivers license can vote for anyone that they want. This way we wouldn't need to have these big parties in Denver or Minneapolis and the money that would be saved could be used to build toy factories in the US that is employeed by U.S. citizens without using lead.

    Cynical from Texas

    February 5, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  5. Kirk

    Firstly I would do away with the current system of primaries and caucuses and institute a so-called national primary in which all states participate on the same day. States will keep their current method of primary or caucus. No more will states vie for the "privilege" of being first. Secondly, I would prohibit the news media from announcing "winners" until 24 hours after the final primary or caucus. No more will news networks vie for being the first to call the winner.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  6. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    I would change the whole system to get the money out of it. Have every state vote the same day in August or September of the election year and have the ballot wide open so you can vote for whoever you want regardless of party affiliation.This would keep the candidates honest and would make for an honest election where people like Kucinich,Paul and Gravel could actually have a voice instead of having the moneyed and favored candidates buy the nomination. Put the public back in charge.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  7. Thomas, FL

    I would have every state vote on the same day. No offense to the people of NH and SC, but the fact that they (and the media reaction) had the power to make McCain the front-runner is a disgrace to the political process.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  8. Eugene in NorCal

    Jack, I'd make the US Presidential Primary System real simple. Every election would be an open election, where voters could vote, for the candidate, of their choice, from any party. Both parties are pushing voters around like cattle, in a barn and that really chaps my hide. My voting forms will consist of paper and voters will be asked, in English, to fill in the circle, next to their candidates name. No unreliable and expensive voting machines made in Venezuela. needed. No hanging chads. No B.S. Just a paper record that has proven secure and effective, for hundreds, of years.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  9. W B in Las Vegas

    move the date of ALL the primaries BACK at least FOUR MONTHS. in fact, I would like to see the British system where official campaigning lasts only ONE MONTH and there is NO TV or Radio adds ALLOWED.

    it's completely NUTS that as soon as a candidate gets elected, they immediately start their campaign for the NEXT election. we have the most expensive and wasteful system in the world although I guess it's GREAT for the TV and Radio stations bottom line.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  10. Common Man

    I would eliminate Super Delegates all together, they can be bought. Most are Congress members and past presidents and the few elite. I think the American public as a whole are the elite and should decide the president. If you allow Super Delegates you are going back to the old days when the common man/woman were considered too ignorant to vote and only the elite or wealthy of the time had any say as to who would be elected president simply because they thought they knew better. This country is over 200 years old yet we still live in the past with archaic ideas that strive to eliminate the common man/woman's voice.

    February 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    I would immediately limit it to no more than one month of campaigning by the candidates and limit the talking head pundits to a maximum of two minutes worth of punditing for each candidate per day. The penalty for exceeding that time limit would consist of being tied to a chair in front of a TV set tuned to the F word network for one day for each second over the time limit.

    All candidates would be publicly and anonymously funded. That is anyone who wants to contribute beyond checking off the box on their tax return will have their contribution go into a single fund from which all candidates draw equally. But somehow, I don't think the contributions would be as large that way.

    Debates would be real debates, not serial mini-press conferences. In other words the candidates would debate each other, not answer simple-minded questions. Reasonable time limits for each debater would be assigned and the penalty for exceeding the time limit would be disqualification from the race, period. That should fix everything.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  12. Diane Acosta

    I would have a national primary day. But I would also make it a mandetory voting day since a large portion of American's choose not to vote. Every person of voting age in America needs to have a say. I agree that to many candidates drop out of the race after a small amount of states have their say, which is unfair to the rest of America. But I also think that having one primary day for the entire country could possibly hinder the need for such large amounts of funding for candidates. I would also make it a requirement that political ads focus only on the candidate's policies and positions (that is endorsing the ad) and not allow negative ads against other candidates. The primaries, to me, are more important to vote in than even the general election – however, I vote any time I get the opportunity.

    Thank you
    Diane G Acosta
    Dekalb, Illinois

    February 5, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  13. Terry North Carolina

    Let the convections decide !

    February 5, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  14. Greg from PA

    I'd get rid of it all together. I'd also change the Office of the Presidency so no one idiot like George Bush could screw up our country so royally. I'd go with nine members, just like our Supreme Court. Instead of a Chief Justice, I'd have a Chairperson who would have an equal say as the other eight members, with five out of the nine in agreement in order to make decisions. The exception to this would be emergencies, in which case the Chair could take immediate action, which would need to be ratified by a quorum of the Office at the earliest opportunity. All candidates who meet the minimum requirements and who wish to be considered would have their name on the ballot. Those nine who receive the most votes would be appointed to the Office. The Chairperson would be selected by five out of the nine. This would work. The Baha'is have been successfully using a system much like this for over a hundred years.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  15. Barbara

    The current primary system is as broken as our current form of government. We have to turn the entire system around so that the majority of voters determin the policy of this country. Our current system of government represents the wealthiest people who can afford to buy politicians' favors and as long as that continues to happen, our current system will remain broken. I often wonder why any honest person would even consider participating in such a farse, which may explain our current circumstances.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  16. Wayne


    I would have public financing. All canidates would get the same amount of funds.
    They would not be owned by special interest groups.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  17. Erin

    As a disenfranchised Michigan voter I ask "Why not have a national primary?" States can stop jockeying for position and we ALL can have an equal say. Speaking of "equal", why not scrap the super delegates as well. Whatever happened to one voice, one vote? Let the little people decide who should go to the general election. Our country's future should not be put in the hands of the politically elite.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  18. Voter

    Jack, I think a national primary makes the most sense. I find the amounts of money spent on campaigns - not to mention all the media time - to be wasteful. Moreover, the caucas process is fertile ground for potential for monkey business.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  19. Karen

    The people would change it so that one vote equals one vote and get rid of the cockeyed primary process and the delegate system. To think that the States are going to quit manipulating the system or that the Dems or Repubs are going to quit manipulating the system, is ridiculous. We don't have a democracy, we have representative govt. We've been represented to death.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  20. Amnesty is Treason

    electoral college is the "FIRST" step in the line of corruption when it comes to the election!

    can't believe it's still in place after 2000; what a joke and yet spread democracy around the world; WHAT DEMOCRACY WHEN THE PEOPLE DON'T DECIDE!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  21. George March

    Do away with the damned delegates!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  22. R Bennett

    Jack, this primary election is crazy. Get rid of the caucuses and get it over with in one month.

    I would have four junior Tuesdays, one from each region of the nation that would complete the primaries process in 4 weeks. Start with the heartland, the Midwest then one week later in the South, one week after that the East and finish it up with the last regional contest in the West.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  23. Josie

    Jack, I'm all for it! This process consumes a lot of time and money. We should just have a national primary. Each candidate can get enough time to make a pitch and we can decide as a nation. I don't like pundits and people in Iowa telling me how to vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  24. Sam3dogs

    Jack, how about this, whoever gets the most votes wins! I'm sure this concept is so complicated that the brilliant political minds of today could never make such an absurd idea work. The only thing more misunderstood than the delegate count is the tax code. It takes teams of lawyers and advisors just to figure out where to campaing to get the most delegates. Never mind the actual vote count, who cares? The only solution is to give them all the same amount of money, time, and and resources, then pick a date and see who wins. If nobody can get 50% of the vote then take all who get 20% or more and have a runnoff until someone can get at least a 50% majority. The electoral college is so outdated and obsolete most people have no idea what it is, means, or does. In history ; whether sports, war, toys, money, or whatever measurement you choose to compare, those who have the most, WIN. Why can't our elections be the same way? Oh, I forgot, that's to complicated.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  25. Cindy

    I think all the states should vote on the same day!!!! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Hillary

    February 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  26. Greg

    There should be one national primary all the same day with all the same rules. The current system is a complete wreck that eliminates the most qualified candidates first. The media should have no part in the process other than to report the news. Debates though they should be televised they should be moderated by completely independent third parties and not liberal biased reporters. This election will go down as the worst election in our history, the outcome will be disasterous, it is the begining of the end of this country.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  27. Mary

    Jack, I would change the primary system so that all states could vote on the same day and the person who receives the most votes in the Democratic and Republican would win their primary in each category.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  28. Marilyn from Ohio

    Plain and simple, there should be a national primary day. We just get the leftovers in Ohio and it isn't even Thanksgiving.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  29. Dana

    Jack, I don't know why the delegates represent our voting numbers. The systems should be off how many votes an individual gets, but then again that would be the democratic way.
    Dana in Florida

    February 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  30. john

    I would make multiple changes; using a lottery system I would schedule five state primaries each voting Saturday, two weeks apart, beginning mid to late January of the election year. Next, all candidates are listed on one ballot. Parties could calculate there respective totals but delegates must be assigned in direct proportion to votes within the party. Winner take all primaries would be prohibited. This methodology would create a level playing field for all parties. In addition to transparency, independent, third and forth party voters would have more of a voice. Most important, a larger portion of the primaries would have to be held before naming "frontrunners".

    February 5, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  31. Ben - SC

    I would have the primary all on one day. Republicans and Dems alike. Same day. Get it over and move on! One thing Jack, popular vote. No delegates. Thats the peoples wishes being served!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  32. JoAnn in Iowa

    Who would have enough money to compete in a national primary and where would they get that kind of money?? Beginning the process in small states makes a lot of sense. We really do spend a lot of time with the candidates. The candidates get to hone their speeches and their messages and they have to answer a lot of questions. We take our responsibility very seriously. I LOVE living in Iowa.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  33. Gigi

    If I could change the system I would set aside one day for all states. I would also limit the amount of money candidates could spend on advertising, etc. That way we could see all candidates and vote on the one that we think is best for the country. The way it is now we only have maybe two to select from and they are the moneyed candidates not necessarily the best ones.
    But, Jack, you and I both know that will never happen. Money will always trump what is right and good.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  34. Denise Goldblatt

    The current system is unfair for most of us. I live in Pennsylvania, and we don't get to vote until April. By the time it gets to us, the choices have all been made. Maybe they can try doing it in one week, by time zones.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  35. Cookie Hickstein

    We need a national primary allstate on the same day, and it should be winner take all in each party. Then we shouldn't hear from the canidates until after Labor day. From Labor Day until the November election day is all the two final canidates should be allowed to campaign. We all get tired of hearing about these people! Plus they need to be taking care of business as senators, or whatever their occupation is.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  36. Sarva

    I would change the primary political system to reflect reality. I do not think you can hold all on the same day that will stretch the candidates very thin in terms of resources and time. However, I do agree with you in that Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina where candidates spend 50% of their money and time is not justified. In addition, winning Iowa gives the momentum to a candidate without any merit.

    I will change the system to start from the largest state and work down, so California first, New York, Florida, and so forth; they should cluster all the small states and hold a Super Tuesday some time in March, so that all the candidates can visit all the states to present their policies up close and personal.

    I will also change the Democratic Party delegates for winner takes all because that is what happens in the real election.

    I live in North Carolina and our primary is in May by then candidates are already selected and the process becomes academic.

    Good luck trying to change the entrenched DNC that practices draconian rules.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  37. Patricia

    I wouldn't let people start to campaign until the 1st of August with all the primaries to be held between September 1st to September 5th. Then we wouldn't have to put up with the whinin' & attack ads.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  38. s buczak

    i am a registered republican in ny, and was unable to change my party affiliation in time to vote today.....i will not be voting for a republican in november, and i feel disinfranchised today....we should beable to change our party affiliation in ny in an easier way.....also independents can not vote today in ny......taxation without representation........also, if i may add, i have chnged my views towards mrs. clinton.....she has turned inti a kick ass senator and i am proud that she is my senator

    February 5, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  39. Frank Lewis, Jr.

    It would be great if they would break these out in 4/5 states every other week, so we the American electorate might have the opportunity to meet, and ask personal questions of our prospective leaders. Our present system is to broad, to rapid, to expensive, and to staged. It is to hard to make a stong connection to these candidates without more time,to digest what they are saying, and more importantly ,if its the truth. Keep'm honest Jack Cafferty, your our lifeline for truth!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  40. Rex in Portland

    1. Each party of each state or territory shall hold its own nominating caucus as it sees fit and at its own expense during the month of August of an election year.

    2. Each party shall hold its nominating convention as it sees fit and at its own expense no sooner than September 15 or an election year.

    3. No candidate for election to a national office shall announce his or her candidacy before July 31 of an election year nor shall allow his/her candidacy to be announced by another entity. The fine for doing so shall be disqualification and imprisonment of the candidate and/or the entity. .

    4. No candidate shall spend more than $1,000,000 on a campaign, nor shall allow more than $1,000,000 to be spent on his/her behalf. Any person or entity exceeding that amount or allowing more than that amount to be spent in campaign expenses shall be disqualified and imprisoned.

    5. The funds for campaigning shall be provided exclusively by the broadcast agencies and shall be made to a neutral party for disbursement without comment or strings attached.

    6. Any candidate heard uttering the words "my friends" or "my fellow Americans" shall be summarily executed.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  41. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I would like to see them held all on the same day. Just like the presidential election. I think this might give some candidates who don't have a lot of money a better chance. In the first three primaries if you do not win or do good the money dries up and candidates have to drop out of the race. I would like to see it made where all candidates will have an opportunity to run in all the primaries.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  42. Debbie P

    First of all can you imagine what we could achieve as a nation if the kind of money that rolls in for these candidates would go toward taking care of our own that are down and out. Poverty would be a non-issue. As for the Primaries, they are completely unfair. Why don't we use our tax money for a month or so of televised town hall meetings and debates that ask ALL candidates the important questions so we have time to know them and their take on the issues. All nasty commercials should be banned! Voting should occur during one week in September.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  43. Julie VanDusky

    We should move from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. This way our legislators would choose our executive. I am confident that if our legislators made the decision, only qualified people would be considered for the position. They wouldn't even consider someone that had only two years of Congressional experience and no military experience to be our executive during war time.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  44. Scott

    there should be one date for all states, one for the primary and one for the general.
    no campaigning before either election prior to 60 days, if we cant make an informed decision in that allotted time then let the worst candidate win.
    the American way, or we could just let the supreme court pick them for us.
    see how good of a job they are at it. after all they have an 0-1 choice.
    who says the greatest legal mind of our time are smart.
    a full media blackout should be a part of the primary season also.
    bowling green.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  45. suzie from Atlanta, GA

    Jack, I want to complement you on your question. It is am important one, which we need to think about seriously.
    If I had the power, I would do the following:

    FIRST, go to a Parliamentary System, so we would NEVER be stuck for 8 years or 8 months AGAIN with a BAD President.
    1. LIMIT all campaign spending to the total of the amount collected on out tax returns. ALL races, from local to national would get all their funding from this total.
    2. NO Ads, NO brochures, NO CALLS, AND NO COMMENTARY.
    3. Official campaigns given 6 weeks to campaign. PERIOD, followed by
    4. Three national primaries, to weed out the candidates
    5. ONE National election.
    We need to get away from these huge, expensive campaigns and allow people who do not have millions of dollars to run. Have you looked at the TOTAL of money spent to date by ALL of these candidates? It's over half a BILLION dollars. It is disgusting, and it is wrong.
    England, France and many other countries manage to elect officials without this nonsense.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  46. Daisy

    I agree with everyone else comments about changing the primary process. All States should vote on the same day. And we should call it "Super American Day"!!!
    not "Super Tuesday"......

    February 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  47. Mike Lee

    Went to vote in the primaries this morning and found out the they had me declared as a Republican....I made a stink about that and they said there wasn't anything I could do about it. If I did declare, as they stated, it must have been over thirty years ago, there must be others that had the same problem.....I can not remember when I voted in a regular election for a Republican...if you can change your "party of choice" in a National Election-why can't you do it in a primary....where are my rights of choice!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  48. Jim from PA

    Jack you can't make all the primaries on the same day because all that does is make the little states even more insignificant. The best way to do it would be to order the primaries from smallest to largest. The first primary being in Wyoming and working up to California.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  49. Jack in Pennsylvania


    I think it's ridiculous that we have seperate primary and caucus dates anymore. Why should obscure states like Iowa and New Hampshire get to shape the election? If we had a national primary date for both parties, then we could get it over with in one day. We wouldn't have to deal with this crap about the "comeback kid" after every strange state votes for another candidate. We wouldn't have to see perfectly good candidates drop out after they lose some tree-hugging or bible-loving state that in reality yields so few delegates they don't end up mattering. We wouldn't have people in states like Pennsylvania having to vote in April when only one candidate is left. We could have an effective and fair primary if we could have one national primary date.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  50. Alvin

    Throw out the delegate system and let the people say who wins the presidency. Not a select few. This country has been ran mofia style for decades. Our results: high unemployment, outrageous national deficits, broken education, and parties arguing over who's more of a conservative. Tell our politicians to live in the future and not in the past.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  51. Beverley


    The only change that should happen is that every election should have 18-20 people running for president just like this year. Tell the truth! It's been fun!

    February 5, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  52. David A. Morse, Stoneham, MA


    I'd have a National Primary so NO state has an advantage in selecting the Nominations.

    I'd have voring on a weekend so more people could vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  53. Jenny from New York

    I would only allow public funding, with the same amount of money for each candidate to use however they want, and then I'd have voting done all on one day, using the popular vote to determe the nominee of each party. That would make it fair for all candidates and easy for everyone to understand.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  54. bnthdntht

    First we have to change the way the candidates raise money. I say put a $20 million dollar cap on the amount each candidate can raise with the maximum donation of $500 per donater,plus keep the Romneys and Bloombergs from injecting their own money into it. Then use matching funds and then use more debates with all candidates and matching different candidates against each other use public TV instead of the major networks which likes to create rock stars or OJs. We lost Biden,Browning,Dodd,and others on money
    issues. Now after saying all that this year has actually worked pretty well.

    February 5, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  55. DAK

    The way the primary season is now, many American voters are feeling disenfranchised. We don't understand why a few states which claim religious, race, gender, military status, and age trends, etc. should steer the direction of the election. And they certainly do! Why can't we ALL be in on the selection, or not, of the complete field? I would NOT have chosen some of these candidates, but now am stuck with them whether I like it or not. NOT FAIR!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  56. Steve

    I think a national primary sounds great but just like college football there is just too much money in these bowl games for the system to ever change.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  57. Jenny from New York

    I would only allow public funding, with the same amount of money for each candidate to use however they want, and then I’d have voting done all on one day, using the popular vote to determine the nominee of each party. That would make it fair for all candidates and easy for everyone to understand.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  58. Les Kennedy

    I live in Tennessee and the county in which I live requires that you either vote Republican or Democrat. I am NEITHER, so the only voting booth that I found was at home in a comfortable chair. What are you supposed to do? I'll be damned if I swear allegiance or chose one party over the other. I love my independence.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  59. Ronald Holst

    Jack There Is only one way to change the system for the Better Make it law that no
    incoumbent can Run ever not even for Dog Catcher.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  60. Linda

    I would do away with the Delegates and the Electoral College.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  61. Tina in Texas

    I think that I would do away with the primaries. Let the people actually have their vote count. It was quite clear in the 2000 race that Al Gore won by the popular vote, meaning that the American people wanted Al Gore as their president. I think that these caucuses and Primaries are for the birds. We go and vote but that doesn't mean that the Delegates will vote the way we voted. They are in it for the money just as the Politicians. I will be voting even though I feel that my vote does really count.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  62. Dennis

    With so many younger voters and all of Hollywood giving their endorsements why don't we just follow thru and go American Idol all the way: Dial in your vote. We could put all the canidates on stage and have three Jack, Lou and, Wolf tell us what they think about the canidates performances and at the end of the show we can all votevia telephone or text message. With all of those bright lights and loud noises no American could help but to pay attention, and those are the votes we really need.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  63. Tina in Texas

    I meant to say that my vote DOES NOT count! Do away with the whole system. It really sucks.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  64. kirk kuhlman

    first i believe all candidates should have to disclose who they would have as the vice president of their choice.
    they should vie for your and my vote as a team.
    all money collected for nominies should be put into a pool and shared equally by all candates of both parties (now the position isn't bought by any one party.)
    the should be removed and all candidates go to the elections in november
    candidates should not be allowed to view questions before a debate and be in a sound proof booth so they can't interupt the person speaking and not be allowed to speak about a particular person of their own party.
    finally get the news out of the debate process other than to record the facts as they are

    February 5, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  65. Re-Al

    Obviously all primaries on one day, and no "all or nothing" states.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  66. Diana

    We should have the primaries at the same time, allowing for the different time zones.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  67. Brian, Kentucky

    The primaries need to be more spread out than they are. Super Tuesday is very exciting this year, but the fact is that the more condensed the primary season is, the greater advantage rich candidates have. Spread them out even more, and reduce the effect pre-primary fundraising has on our electoral system.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  68. Jeff

    A national primary would be an excellent idea. However, we would lose a lot of drama and Americans love drama.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  69. Evan

    Start off with eliminating the reliance on ludicrously frivolous and arguably incompetent major political parties. Make it about the people, not about the people controlling the people. If we start electing smaller people from smaller parties we may find that they have some pretty big ideas.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  70. JimmB

    Whatever other changes you make, shorten the campaign season! Move Iowa and New Hampshire back to the beginning of March, South Carolina and Nevada to late March, and then go from there. The campaign season is way too long!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  71. Susan Lynah

    The answer's simple. Put Jack Cafferty in charge. He'll get the job done!!!

    Susan in Savannah

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  72. Aaron A

    The primaries should all be held on the same day in a fashion similar to the presidential voting. It's sad that a couple of backward states like Iowa have the ability to determine the candidacy for the while country.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  73. Jon

    National Primary! Rudy might have been elected but he couldn't win in Iowa due to being too "liberal" and the same is true for SC. Obama might have just all together won until Hillary cried on air to have her win New Hamshire. We must eventually go to a National Primary

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  74. Nicholas Tipper

    We need no caucuses nor do we need the current primary system. The majority should rule, as should it with the the general election. These systems make individuals think that they have no say in the election of the officials. The reason is that they are electing the official, but not "technically" electing the individual.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  75. Kenny

    I see two options for revising the current primary system. 1) All states vote simultaneously with results reported at the same time or 2) Rotating primaries so that 1/5 of the states would be first every five years putting different states in the spotlight and highlighting different issues. This would hopefully shorten the election season as well.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  76. Tanja Muncey

    Simple, Jack. Open the primaries. We need an overhaul of our primaries and general election. The day of two parties and the electoral college are over. It is time to have open elections, where all legal participants in the voting process are counted!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  77. Jonathan Wolf

    I would change the primaries the same way I would change the general presidential elections: popular vote. As we have seen in recent history, even though you may have the most individual votes, it really depends on the electoral college and what they decide. Even in the 2004 presidential election, there was the problem of faithless electors, and our vote didn't even go to one of the two major candidates! It's rather annoying to think that our vote really doesn't count.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  78. Mark from Michigan


    The Anuzis/Dignell plan is being discussed now. It breaks the nation into 8 regions with 6 states in each region. Each voting day, one state from each region votes. The states choose their order via lottery.

    This is the plan: Every state gets to be one of the first eight states each election cycle, every eight years.

    It's fair-and it lets the candidates get personal with almost every state. Imagine when you have three to four weeks between contests and only eight states to cover in that time. Everyone would have a better chance to influence the vote.

    It's got to happen, and it's got to happen in 2012.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  79. George Kirksey

    Why not have a primary every day starting on January 1st and continuing until all 50 states as well as all US Territories have the opportunity to vote. How do you keep the states from unfairly moving up their primary date? The first State to enter the Union will be the first state to vote. You hold each states primary on a different day, and each state gets its moment in the spotlight.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  80. Dalton Hoffine

    Mr. Cafferty, I think that every state should vote on the same day, and I think that all primaries should be open. If we are to have a true democracy, everyone should vote their mind, and not be played on by momentum or party affiliation. America is better than to let its political process be manipulated by The Big Mo and nineteenth-century corrupt party boss tactics.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  81. Samantha Brown

    As a resident of Pennsylvania it absolutely baffles me that our primary isn't until April 22nd! And for the 2004 election it was even later! We have the 4th most delegates out of all 50 states. Why should Pennsylvanians be forced to wait until after Super Tuesday when there's essentially 1 candidate for each side left standing already. Our delegates and votes should count more in the big picture. This is what I'd selfishly change... only as a start.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  82. Will

    The presidential candidates should have the entire winter and most of the spring to campaign before a single day of primaries in, say, march or april. That way the American people would have months to get to know each candidate as their campaigning heats up.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  83. Jim

    Just a thought, but why not divide the country in four distinct regions, that being East, West, North, South and bundle the four regions into four distinct primary events.

    This could potentially provide more "upclose" time for the candidates and the regions to voice opinions and view each candidate.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  84. Kent Stroker

    Primaries having nothing to do with the delegates. Delegates are not obligated to cast votes as the state voters voted. This makes primaries pointless. Delegates should be randomly picked from registered voters; much like getting picked for jury duty.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  85. robbie from indiana

    jack, what i would do is have one state a week for 50 weeks before the convention. that would cause the system to start earlier than it did this year. that would be our best bet. it gives candidates plenty of time to campaign. Plus, all states will be able to meet the presidential candidates personally like they did in iowa and new hampshire.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  86. Chris

    Having a de facto national primary would make it impossible for lesser known candidates to compete at all. What they need to do is divide the states into 4 or 5 groups and then have each group have its primary spaced a few weeks apart. Randomize the order the groups go in so over the course of 20 years each group goes first and also goes last.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  87. Mimi

    Jack, I would get rid of this super delegate system. Like the electoral college, other people have the ability to make the ultimate decision for the American people. I drove 5 hours round trip today because I had to vote at my old polling station in another part of the state. Is my vote really going to count? Will the silly super delegates superceed me?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  88. Ben Xiong

    A national primary might seem like a good idea, but imagine the chaos that would erupt if one candidate out of a field of eight or nine managed to win the nomination with fewer than 30% of the vote. what we need instead are regional primaries, with different sections of the country rotating who gets to vote first. This would help winnow down the field, but it would also prevent all the states from racing to push their primaries up as early as possible.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  89. Susannah Kroeber

    I would have a rotating system primary season by primary season. Divide the country up any way you want into four or five groups, and then each primary season a different region goes first, all having their primaries on the same day, or in the same week. A different week (or two) for each group. That way everyone gets a chance to go first. As a voter in a late state (Rhode Island), I'd get my vote counted and have it mean something.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  90. Rian McMurtry

    Either have a single day for all states or select them all at random. Either would work. While we're adjusting this, we should adjust the electoral college–let the territories and commonwealths have at least one or two electoral votes.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  91. Andy

    I think that the primaries should all be held on one day. Why should states like Iowa and New Hampshire get to weed out certain candidates that possibly the majority of the country wanted to vote for. With todays instantaneous results, we should just have the primaries held on one day and give every candidate a fair chance to run.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  92. Albert from Florida

    The way to do it would be to divide the states into different regions, and to then alternate primary dates for the regions from election to election. That way, Region 1 would have its primaries first one election year, and then Region 2 would have its primaries first the next election year, and so on. This would alternate the states that would have more influence, and thus allow for each state to have a "bigger say" in the election process. This would allow for the candidates to interact closely with those voters in the region with its primaries first, while also alternating which regions are "more important" than others to the candidates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  93. Zoe Gainey

    I don't think there should be a national primary. Here in Iowa we were really lucky to get to meet all the candidates, and other states should have that opportunity. However, I don't like the super delegate system of the Democrat Party at all. Why should ex-presidents and high officials votes count more than ours? Aren't all Americans created equal? Or do they not trust the people to make a good decision? It's just as useless and outdated as the electoral college.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  94. phil serpico

    KISS is the way to go: KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! Use the popular vote by State, add them up and voilla: the winner!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  95. Dylan

    Why should voters in Iowa and New Hampshire matter so much more than me the voter in the bigger state of Florida. It's rediculous. If we can't have a national primary then I say get a group of Republicans and Democrats together and every four years decide on a calander. That way every four years there is a new state whose votes count more than everyone else's.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  96. Dmitry in NJ

    Each state has a primary on a separate day starting with the smallest state and ending with the largest. This would guarantee personal attention to small states and the ability of candidates to campaign everywhere with the biggest prizes New York and California saved for last. This is much more logical and fair than what we have now.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  97. FRED


    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  98. jovan

    Here is how I would change it: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina would all vote at the same date. Then the other 47 states would vote seven days after those three states. And the very first votes (in Iowa, N.H., and S.C.) will not be held before March 25 of the presidential election year.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  99. Derek, NJ

    How about we put all of the primaries in one day. That way it would be tougher for the candidates to travel everywhere, leaving some states and many people undecided and let them make their decision near the last second before voting. This would leave the broadcasts and media unsure who is predicted to win the states. Any more dramatic than that Jack?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  100. Elaine Roth

    I think the primary should be held on the same date everywhere and it should be counted by the number of votes – NOT Delegates. The Super Delegates on the Democratic side are going to decide this year's candidate and it should instead be decided by the actual vote.

    Of course, I'm against the electoral system for the Presidential election also.

    Let's get elections TO THE PEOPLE and end the powerful elitist insiders who decide everything. Like that would ever happen?!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  101. C. Alex Lown

    I would put all of the primaries on a single day. That way the media does not affect voters by declaring "front-runners" or "sure-fire nominees" after a few early states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  102. Marcelles Lightsey

    By changing the philosiphy of the political system. Elect a commander in chief that will empower the american people for them to see eachother in their own eyes. We need to truly look at politics in a different non divisive manner that brings us to want our right for better. Barack obama has these qualities that arent trained or equiped but are given by birth.

    OBAMA 08

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  103. David Furrh

    1 big primary would be great and it should be conducted formandatory. Same for 3 days, preferablya Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Same goes for mid term and general elections. Lets game the system for the common man for a change!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  104. Neal

    Simple. We need to learn from reality programming. I see the elections like American Idol. We start off with all the candidates, good and bad. Each week, we vote off the least popular from both parties. There is a weekly debate on an issue and by the end of the season, we choose our next President. Ryan Seacrest can moderate. And to be fair, I'd ask CNN to host it since with FOX, something tells me phone calls and text messages may go missing!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  105. Wendel

    I think we should elect our President like the show Survivor. The candidates would all be given an opportunity to win immunity challenges from other candidates and vote each other off the ballot. The reality of this show is nothing is going to change no matter who wins.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  106. Ed Reed

    Regional primaries (not all at once), scheduled 30-days apart across 5 months.

    Order of regional primaries determined by lottery on Jan 1 of the year FOLLOWING the previous general election, so there's a rotation, with plenty of notice (4 years) advanced notice.

    Regions selected so that all their voters are in the same timezone, or at most two (for states like Florida that span two timezones).

    I figure 5 regions: NE, SE, MW, Rocky Mountain, West Coast.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  107. Jon from Tempe, Az

    We need a national primary day. It is not fair that when I vote here in Arizona that I do not have as many choices as when I used to live in Iowa. It will make it more difficult for candidates to be viable because they will have to raise more money quickly to be able to compete in all 50 states at once but that is the reality of American politics. In America it takes a lot of money to run a campaign and if you can not raise it for the primary you definitely will not be able to for the general election.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  108. Scottie

    I am in independent in North Carolina.
    We do not even have a chance in deciding who is on the playing field.
    We just get to vote on what everyone else thinks is best for the country.
    I want to heard just like everyone else.
    Let's change this system.

    I want my voice heard too!

    Age 40
    North Carolina

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  109. Jennifer

    The whole system needs re-vamping. The two ruling parties did not object to 22 states having primaries on the same date which is difficult for campaigning, but they punished Florida and Michigan for doing so. The worse offense is the addition of Super Delegates which amounts to the deals being made in the smoke-filled backrooms as in days of Tammany Hall. After the millions spent on campaigning and the volunteer efforts of thousands of Americans, the Super Delegates can alter the results to suit the two ruling national parties.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  110. Lynda, Phoenix, AZ

    I'd do away with the delegates. I expect my vote to count and it obviously doesn't IF a candidate gets the nomination based on the number of delegates and NOT the popular vote. Why should we bother voting if a small handful of 'specials' are the only votes that count?

    I'd also stop the media from doing their exit polls and projections because I think that influences others to either not vote or change their vote thinking their candidate has no chance at all.

    But hey, that's just me.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  111. Jason Johnson

    Rotating or having a lottery in which a block of four or five states go first seems the only fair thing to do. After the first round, the conventions can then construct a schedule that allows for certain constituents to have a voice. I'm a democrat in California and I was mad I didn't get to vote for Howard Dean and its annoying that we only have two choices this year.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  112. Shaun

    States should not have "winner take all" delegates. Winner-take-all states falsely represent the actual voice of the people in that state. If 48% of voters want one candidate and 52% want the other candidate, it appears as if the entire state wanted that candidate, when that is just not the case.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  113. Jeremiah T MSU, MI

    Jack, I'm a young college student in Michigan and I didn't bother with the primaries this year. Quite frankly I feel snubbed by the Democratic Party, and it demonstrates a willingness to be selective with democracy much like the Republicans.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  114. Kristy in MO

    First of all – get RID OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE! In this day and age, I don't need some unseen benign ghost voting basically on my behalf, while I'm patted on the head with a wink when I cast my vote in the general election. Geez, the FBI can tap my cellphone without my knowledge when I can't even find it if they want to – they can certainly manage to figure out a way to count my OWN vote if they want to.

    And of course, any primary activity should be done on one day. Ohio and Michigan and I don't get along – they shouldn't get to speak before I do. LOL

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  115. Chickaroo

    I say eliminate the cauceses. The candidates should just play russian roulette. Whoever is left, can get the nomination for their party

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  116. Roger Jenkins

    Abolish the primary system/electoral college as we know it. It might have worked 200 years ago, but that was before today's telecommunications capabilities. The system engenders too much wheeling & dealing, and as you suggest, does not really listen to the voice of the populace. Go to a straightforward popular vote and end this nonsense.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  117. Rick Cruse

    There needs to be a realistic but defined period for campaigning (2-3 months early in the year of the election) followed by primaries held in each state within a fixed and short period of time (1-2 weeks).

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  118. Phil

    Jack, the most fair election system would be having all primaries on the same day. Why should so many Americans be held hostage to the decisions of Iowa and New Hampshire? Maybe if all of the elections were on the same day the American people could affectively vote their conscience and not wait to see all of their top choices knocked out of the race.

    New York

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  119. Andrew

    If the primary schedule was up to me I would have 5 different primary days each happening a week or two after each other. On the first election perennial early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire would vote and award their delegates. After each round the candidates would be narrowed down to a specific number. For example after the first round there would be 5 per party, and after election day 2 there would be 4, ect.... I would then put the larger delegate rich states of Texas, California, and New York at the end, that would ensure that candidates would have to spend as much time in the early states to stay in the race, as well as the larger ones to eventually win the nomination.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  120. Andy Wielgus

    I believe that all states should conduct a primary rather than a caucus. Voting should be done in private, behind a curtain and away from outside influences. I'm certain that there were people in Las Vegas voting for Obama because that is who their union was backing, and they were afraid to go against their union.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  121. Jorge

    I would have half the states vote on one day, and then a month later have the rest of the states vote. This, of course, would have to be done in the correct manner of making sure that the delegate count is not large enough that any one nominee could win on the first round of votes. Like this, the drop out rate for candidates would be lower, and the entire nation could truly be involved in this process.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  122. Dan

    Why not have all the primaries on the same day., also limit spending.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  123. Ricky

    I think that we should have a revolving primary system. In election years different states get to vote first. It makes sense. Each election cycle you get a different view of how citizens of other states feel, rather than getting the opinion of the same states like Iowa and New Hampshire. I'm from Pennsylvania and I feel your pain Jack. I don't want my choices narrowed down between two candidates on April 22.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  124. Richard

    When 80% of Republicans in Iowa approve of the President, it shows how far they are from the mainstream of America. Why this state should be allowed to winnow candidates out of the rack?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  125. Linda Farley

    How I would change the presidental primary system is simple. Have them all on the same day. How else is our vote going to count. The way the delegates are counted, someone has already won the nomination before we even get a chance to vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  126. Scott Ewing

    The Primary system would definitely be more effective if there was a totally national primary. Just as you said, Jack, having primaries early in the year doesn't give every American a chance to cast their vote for the candidate they've supported from the beginning. As for stripping Florida and Michigan of their democratic delegates. . . that's just ridiculous. It's taking away the voices of the people of those states. The term unconstitutional comes to mind. . .

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  127. Dan Matlock


    I fear another election decided by the 'Electoral College' scenario. I for one see that this is no longer a viable entity. We should be receiving the information 'UNBIASED' from the media and allowed to vote as a PEOPLE in this nation and not by special interests or by those believing THEY have a better knowledge than we do about who we want for president. 'By the people, and for the people'.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  128. Kelly

    I do like the idea of having a nationwaide primary on one day, because that would prevent candidates from getting discouraged by early results, as usually happens. I am voting in my Illinois primary by absentee ballot, and the candidate I voted for a few weeks ago has already dropped out. My vote does not count now. We need a change in the system,

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  129. Zach, NY

    First, make it really about what the people want instead of the nonsense we have now by getting rid of the entire delegate system and stick to the popular vote, as that seemed to work in an election some time ago if I recall. I'm sure they could scrape some of that 3.1 trillion dollar budget off by getting rid of the pesky delegate system (and entire electoral college.)

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  130. Andy in

    The whole system is outdated. Our election system is over 200 years old. Maybe it was the best in the world in the late 1700's Rather than being arrogantly prideful over our system, perhaps we should update the entire system to get with the times. The economist ranks the USA as the 17th best functioning democracy.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  131. Liz

    I think the system shouldl be changed. What's up with this caucus thing????

    I live in Clark County Nevada and if you go look the Caucus that was done in Jan 08; today is Feb 05 and it shows on the Democrat side 98% counted. If you look at the state county by county; there are about 3 or 4 counties still showing less than 100 % counted.

    Who Won; how can Obama have the most delegates; when the counting is not complete ????? This needs to be reviewed; don't ya think.

    I definitely think we need to change the system.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  132. Gaile Smith

    I'm from the state of Florida where no delegates will be at the Democratic convention to voice my choice. Seems to me the Democratic National Party leaders are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. All this because Iowa and New Hampshire have to be first. Quite unfair from my point of view. A national primary would eliminate this.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  133. ed

    I feel my vote does not matter in Ohio after other states have already decided for the entire country. Why not make Super Tuesday super for all the states? Does that not make sense? Oh, I forgot. This is politics. When has sense ever entered politics?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  134. Adam from Detroit

    A national primary day would make it virtually impossible for an unknown candidate to have a chance at winning the nomination. Retail politics, for better or worse, is how unknown candidates crack their way into the system, otherwise we'll have a political version of American Idol, where the guy with the most name recognition wins.

    The best solution I can come up with is to divide the country up by region, maybe five or six regions. Each region will vote on the same day, and one state from each region will get to vote early. That way candidates get a chance to be filtered by meeting people directly, and candidates will also have a fighting chance by having smaller areas to campaign in. The early voting state will rotate every four years. New Hampshire and Iowa performed a vital role, but it was far too limited to actually matter. The issues in those states have almost no bearing on a manufacturing state like Michigan.

    It's time to shake things up, make things more fair for the people in this country who don't live in Iowa or New Hampshire, and still make it possible for us to have real choices for office and not just party hacks with name recognition.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  135. Jane Wilson

    I agree that all states and parties should have their primaries on the same day. Everyone keeps telling us how sacred our right to vote is, so what gives the parties the right to strip away our voice in Florida?? Who do I complain to about that? I don't recall anyone asking me if I was willing to give up my vote in order to move up the primary date. I also believe that even if you are not affiliated with a party you should still be entitled to vote. One person, one vote. The current system seems like they're making up the rules as they go from state to state.
    Frustrated in Florida

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  136. earlhanson

    Primaries all on 1 day about 6 wks. before the national election. Too much money being spent, they could help the economy and more people could participate in the debates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  137. Ed Blackmond

    I would spread the primaries out over three or four months, but not allow the official results, or even exit polls to be published until June 15.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  138. Sarah

    I think superdelegates should be done away with. It seems undemocratic that an individual has as much power as a community. As of last night, Hilary was ahead of Barack due to the support of superdelegates, which seems to be representative of the wants of a select few, not of the public. Maybe I'm confused, but I thought primaries are to determine who the masses want representing them.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  139. Doug S

    obvious ... have primaries/caucuses in all states on the same day ...

    We don't hold elections per se on different days for different states ...
    we in fact make it the case that results from eastern states are not made
    available to people in western states before polls in all western states have
    closed, to reduce the "voting for a winner" syndrome ...

    Having primaries on different days in different states is ridiculous and absurd ...

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  140. Jim in Ga

    Jack Its simple...We should have a National Primary and the delegates should be proportional in all states; We should all have the same voting machines as well.

    But lets not stop with the primaries, lets do away with the Electorial College as well, since we are no longer a nation of few literates...We all watch the Media and to some degree too much information is digested, so there is truly no misinformed voter these days and we need to simplify the sustem and make teh popular vote really count in making our choices for leadership.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  141. Dustin

    The primary, along with the General election, needs to be updated. The primary should be held on one day in every state. The candidate with the most votes on each side at the end of the day should be the winner. Then in the general election it should once again be the one with the most votes.
    P.S. Everyone get off of your computers and GO VOTE!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  142. JRenee

    Send a form to every registered citizen in the nation, give them a deadline to send them back, appoint an independent firm to count the votes, sit back with a beer and wait for the results.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  143. Judy

    Jack, I believe that delegates and the electoral college should be eliminated. We, the people, should actually vote for the president. The candidate with the most votes wins. That's how the 'real world' operates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  144. Joe

    Have a runnoff election and do away with the conventions.

    One early national primary to narrow the field, and a late summer national primary to pick the candidate. Don't give me any of that 'elections are too expensive to have two.' Picking the leader of our nation is a more rational national expense than most of the pork congress wastes our taxes on.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  145. Jimmy

    It's a difficult question. By placing them all on one day, you get a glimpse of who has the type of national stamina needed to win a general election; however, you also give the big "Washington" candidates with lots of money the advantage. With the current system, people like Huckabee can reach national recognition by POLICIES not with simply MONEY alone. I think we are in the process though of moving towards what should be done, concentrating all of the primary voting in one to two months.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  146. Sharon Day

    I think that all the states should vote on the same day! It would take all the unfairness and power from the media which tries to brainwash people in their voting choice. The media knows most people don't,can;t, or wont think for themselves but lets the media choose their candidate for them!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  147. chad

    Primary season should be settled through some good ol' mud wrestling. Maybe then the boys club of media and politics would give a woman a chance, if at least to see a cat fight in the mud. Can you imagine a mud fight with Coulter and Clinton. It makes better news than what Hillary's pants suite looks like.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  148. Ken Kyser, Jr

    The Unitied States must all vote as one, on the same date, for us to have the opportunity to select our party nominees. I live in Florida, and my vote was apparently meaningless. The current process seems to go on and on and cost the candiates millions.

    Ken Kyser, Jr
    Panama City, Fl.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  149. Jim, NC

    I would leave Iowa and NH first, as a nod to our political tradition and as a chance for less-known candidates to make a splash with hard work instead of lots of money.

    I would then chose by lot 1 state from each region for the next contest on a joint date, to allow one chance to show regional strength.

    I'd follow up with 5 regional primaries, rotated in order from yeasr to year.

    This would streamline the process while retaining a chance for less financed candidates to show strength early.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  150. Richard

    That's easy Jack. The one third least populated states get to particpate first, over a couple of weeks. Then a month later the states with the average populations get to go, followed finally by the most populated states. That way retail politics is always relevant, because there are not enough delegates to make a definitive decision given until the end of the process. Plus it would take some of the importance of money out of the race. Less well funded canidates would be able to compete with the biggies early on on even footing.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  151. Will K

    This whole process could be far simpler with a single all party national primary. People vote for whomever they want regardless of party. The top two people from the previous vote regardless of party, run again in a single run-off vote. The winner is the next president.

    No delegates with votes more powerful then thousands of citizens.
    No electoral college that doesn't represent the popular vote.
    No political parties that can dictate who can vote and when.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  152. Martin, Michigan

    I would definitely make the voting system uniform for all the states. It's not fair to have some winner-take-all states and some proportional states. The two of them contradict each other, because while you have to work very hard to get some delegates in one proportional state, all your previous money and efforts are nearly wiped out if you lose a winner-take-all state.

    It's just not fair!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  153. Kevin L Scheirer

    all the primary's should be held at the same time so it is every state that has a say in who will run in the end this will stop the flopping that it seems to go on issues state to state

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  154. Royal Morse

    There is no doubt that the current primary system eviscerates the idea of one person one vote. The voters in Iowa and New Hampshire wield incredible power in determining the President of our country, and thus the course of history. The only logical solution is to hold a national primary day, and restore equality to the voting process.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  155. Bob Allen

    One primary on March 21st. It gives all candidates time to traverse the country and leaves time for all the delegate conventions before the election. Spring may breath some new life into this cycle.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  156. Daniel Porter

    Change all the Primaries and Caucuses to the first Tuesday in February. This would give people a chance to vote for a more wider range of Candidates then now. Also by doing all the primaries on one day, a few states wont be choosing our nominees.

    Daniel Augusta GA.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  157. Heather Nicolau

    I completely agree, the system is flawed. It makes me feel that when my WV democratic primary comes around months from now it's too late to be heard, that in some states your vote counts and in mine it doesn't. I strongly feel that there should be a nation-wide primary for all of the country. One voice for everyone, not one for those lucky enough to have early primaries.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  158. Jonathon Will

    In order to be fair not only with the voters, but the candidates as well, I believe that the presidential primaries should be held on one day only. This would encourage voters to vote for who they really believe in and not just someone who is electable. If this system were in place, most of the candidates who dropped out would still be in the race because there would be no prematurely crowned victor.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  159. Richard W. Crockett

    I would follow the Association of Secretaries of State and adopt a regional primary system, with four regional primaries, each held on different weeks. By doing this, the system would permit lesser known candidates, to become known, and it would distribute cost of campaigning over time.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  160. Ryan M.


    As much as I don't like the idea of other states getting to choose before mine, this system creates a long-term process that allows us to see the candidates on a much deeper level than a national primary would. It's far from perfect, but I love the competition it creates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  161. K James

    I think we should abolish primaries and delegates. We only need the popular vote. I can see having a national popular vote two times. The first vote would weed out less popular candidates and the second would elect the president.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  162. Chuck Chodora

    We definitely need a National Primary which is Publicly Financed. Get big business and special interests out of politics - return the Government to the people.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  163. Darby Coss

    I live in NH where we have the benefit of seeing candidates up close, and I have been concerned in the run-up to today that Super Tuesday voters are making their choices with not nearly enough information about the candidates. I would change the system by scheduling no more than 2 primaries every other week, starting the second week in January. I would start with the states with the smallest populations, leaving the states with the largest populations to be last. I would also limit the amount candidates could spend in each state, based on the population of each state to slow down the absurd amount of mailings and TV advertising and increase the likelihood of more retail-style politics.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  164. Anne

    I agree with everything Jack said..as usual..There should be One Primary Day for all states the same day . This system we use now is most definitely unfair.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  165. Manuel Trujillo

    Get rid of the Electoral College. Even though this seems impossible, it is healthy for Americans to start to question the Constitution and examine its flaws. Implementing a ranking system, similar to those in several mature European democracies, would allow voters to rank their preferred candidates, and actually guarantee that the candidate preferred by the majority is the one elected.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  166. McKay

    Two words. Popular vote. Oh, and hold the primaries on one stinkin' day!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  167. Craig Erickson

    Have the President, at the end of the State of the Union Address in a Presidential election, year draw names of states out of a hat. The first ten states would get a primary in February, the next ten in March, the next ten in April, the next ten in May, and the last ten in June, just in time for the July conventions. There are many advantages to this system: 'who gets to go first' would rotate; the season would be shortened; more than a few candidates would likely survive the 'first cut'; and excitement would draw viewers to the otherwise ho-hum State of the Union Address.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  168. Trey

    First, I would eliminate the delegates and superdelegates. And second, I would propose a period of campaigning, from Labor Day the year before the election to February 5th. And then on February 5th, have the Democrat and Republican primaries. Each American can vote for who they wish, regardless of affiliation. And third, the winner for each party must attain 50% of the popular vote of the votes cast in each respective primary. If no candidate achieves 50%, the top 2 candidates have one debate and a run-off the following week.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  169. M.C.

    Great Day J.C.: You and Wolf are the Men! First of all what's w/this whole delegate business anyway? It sounds like dictation to me. This is my first time voting in 30yrs as it is my first time responding on an issue. We need to have a whole new voting system period. Forget this party, delegate, race, gender,etc. business. And just do what's best for the American People. Thank You,-*MC

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  170. Dr M Ratner

    Institute the Parliamentary System:

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  171. Mike Stoddard

    My idea for improving the primary system is that each party in each should have the same number of total delegates as there are in the electoral college. However, you should not have to declare a party for the whole election. I live in Illinois and there was a pretty interesting election going on on the republican side for States attorney or something. I didn't even pay attention because I knew that I was going to vote for Barak Obama. You should only have to declare a party for each individual race on the ballot card. (i.e vote democrat for president and republican for states attorney). All of the primaries should also be held with 5 states every Tuesday for 10 weeks so that we all can get to know the canidates better like they did in Iowa New Hampshire and South Carolina. This way we will also have a better chance to watch canidates closer as the numbers dwindle down to 2 or 3 canidates running. Then the rest of the election process should be the same.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  172. richard theriault

    the way i see it the only fair way to do the primarys is to give everyone who wants to run a chance to get their name out there. set a date to vote and all registered voters go out and vote for the person who they think is the best person for the job. Becoming president is a job and the best resume should speak for its self. we don't need a year to think about it.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  173. Stan Major

    change the whole system...go to a parlimentary type govt...have short election campaigns and if someone like a Bush or a Bill Clinton can't cut it in the Oval...he gets dumped out....fast no waiting four more years to have another two year election zoo!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  174. Fred Meyer

    We should have a single primary day or weekend in say May or June, then the general election in November. The candidates have spent more time and money on getting the few early delegates than on the major states in 'super tuesday'. Why should those few states with small undiversified populations decide for whom the rest of us get to vote?

    Fred Meyer

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  175. Stanford Thompson

    To make it fair for the whole country, the primaries should be divided into 4 primary voting days; each day should cover 1/4 of the country every 2-3 months apart. This will give the candidates a chance and time to campaign in the perspective state during each primary phase. If by or after the second phase, a candidate is not getting traction then that candidate, at least, was given a fair chance and a fair amount of time to state his or her position.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  176. Nancy and Fritz

    I would like to due away with the delegate votes as it seems to me there is no reason for me to go out and vote when they change the way I have voted. Change it to a popular vote!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  177. Steve

    I'd use common sense. First it's a federal election so it should be held by all 50 states on the same day. Second I'd hold it over a weekend and no caucases. All 50 states and territories should have primary elections only. No caucuses.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  178. jon

    Jack, as someone that lives out of the United States, i would like to say that I am fascinated by the system of the U.S. I think it's nice that Americans get a say whatsoever in each parties leader. Here in Canada, unless you pay to be a member of a party you may not select the leader of any party. Yes, the primary system is somewhat flawed, but at least it allows everyone to vote in the leadership primaries (including independants in certain states).

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  179. Geoff

    Jack: I believe that a single national primary day would be much more objective and grant equal access for all voters to all candidates. The primary date could be moved to early April, allowing candidates more time to visit and spend campaign time in all the states while at the same time leaving six months for the winning candidates from all parties to campaign prior to the general election.

    Of course, the whole delegate and electoral college systems sucks! It would appear that it was beneficial in the early years of this experiment we call "democracy." At that time, education, transporation, and communication were dramatically limited. However, in the 21st century, the level of education and understanding of our system of government is much greater. Additionally, candidates can now jet to every state in the union to meet with citizens and hold events. And, as well you know, people from one coast to the other can all see the same rally, speech, town hall meeting, etc. at the same time–Live–thanks to the advances in communications.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  180. Gabrielle

    The first caucus and primary should be in January. In February the states should conduct caucuses or primaries based solely on the delegate count. One caucus/primary every other day for about two months. National election conducted in April 1st – yeah....April Fool's Day.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  181. DANIEL


    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  182. Dustin C

    The arguement against a single day for nation-wide primaries and caucuses is that the early voting states gets more attention from the candidates, so their vote is more informed and "better" than those Americans who live elsewhere and vote later. If the national media would actually focus on ALL of the candidates' platforms, and not focus on one or two celebrity candidates from each party, a single national primary day would work just fine.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  183. Josh, Appleton WI

    There is too much money in the American political system. Creating a national primary would only help the initial front runners, candidates with the most money and name recognition. If you want to create a national primary, then we need to drastically change campaign finance laws. We need to create full, require public financing of campaigns.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  184. Sharon H.

    Why can't we have the whole country vote in the primaries on the same day? If the primaries were held later, say in May or June, the candidates would have more time to campaign in all states. It is frustrating that by the time some of us have the chance to vote, like here in North Carolina, it doesn't really matter.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  185. Charles Rieser

    Jack, It's simple: the state that can boast of the greatest percentage of voter turnout in the last presidential election gets to go first, then the state with the second greatest turnout, etc.... In this way, the parties, campaigns and candidates will play to the people who are the most involved. Every state would then have a tangible and vested interest in voter turnout and hopefully an actual partnership between the state parties and the voters might arise......

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  186. Jimmy from Georgia Tech

    It’s a difficult question. By placing them all on one day, you get a glimpse of who has the type of national stamina needed to win a general election; however, you also give the big “Washington” candidates with lots of money the advantage. With the current system, people like Huckabee can reach national recognition by POLICIES not with simply MONEY alone. I think we are in the process though of moving towards what should be done, concentrating all of the primary voting in one to two months.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  187. Frank Manno

    I call it You Decide Month.

    Each Candidate gets a 30minute speech on ALL national Media Networks.
    All Primaries/caucuses are on the same day, or we have a west ,south, and east day.
    Where each area of nation votes for their candidate. All Primaries should become OPEN primaries and they should be conducted similiar to Weest Virginia's GOP process and the Democratic party's process of NO MORE WINNER TAKES ALL..

    Equal Coverage.
    Focus on the ISSUES!!
    No more Big Business and Corporations allowed to support candidates.

    Thats my opinion:)

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  188. Octavio Cruz Lima


    we can change this ridiculous system which is handled by these two parties by throwing out their entire control over the people and decide how should be done. Why not have one election day and have just the pictures of the candidates on the ballot and their names without specifying which party they belong and let the people have a choice in accordance with their education about the candidates. Educate yourself first about the candidates.

    Octavio Cruz Lima
    New Jersey

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  189. Lynne Palmer

    I would get rid of the electorate college and let the vote be by the people(popular vote) like our constitution says. We are the only democratic country that has an electorate college and this is not a fair vote since it is not "by the people." , but by a chosen few.

    Lynne Palmer

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  190. Kathleen in Indiana

    Having scattered primaries can place undue influence in the hands of an often homogeneous minority while one national primary could diminish the ability of states with a smaller population to meet/hear the candidates. What about two tiers/dates, two weeks apart, where less populated states hear the candidates' platforms and vote first while larger states follow in the next "round"?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  191. Ryan

    Keep the Primary system we have.Just don't release the delegates and don't show the results of the primaries until the convention.That way the race doesn't begin to lean either way until the end.Never a clear front runner,the way the race is set up now is too easy.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  192. Eric

    I find it interesting that none of the candidates preaching about our need for change are willing to acknowledge that we have a fundamentally broken primary process. First, every state should vote on the same day. Second, no state should be "winner take all" – the number of delegates a candidate receives should be based on the percentage of the vote they receive, no exceptions. And finally, the parties should not have the right to exclude independents from voting in any state. It is ridiculous that an independent in California is unable to partipate in the Republican primary, just as it is for none of the Democratic delegates to count in Florida.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  193. Corey, Maryland

    Great question. I read an article a while back that had the best idea i have ever heard on how to run the primaries. All the Primaries would be in one month, split up among the first 4 Friday's of the month. The first quarter of states that would go, would be the states that have the smallest populations like Kansas, Idaho, etc... Then work your way up to the last Friday where the biggest states like California, Texas, New York, etc, would go. The reason behind this is that, this way the citizens of the smaller states can have a voice as well, otherwise on a day like today, people care about the smaller states, and do not just go after the big states.. I believe that this would be a very fair system, in order to select a nominee to run in November.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  194. Steve

    I'd also get rid of the delegates system

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  195. Doug Bradshaw

    Dear Jack,

    I agree that too much power in the Primary system, is now located in the Iowa and NH primaries. I too would like to have a choice in the weeding down process that today, as you pointed out, has narrowed the two major party fields from 18 to 4.

    Yet, the solution, a single day of national primary selection, would never be agreed to today by either/both parties for one major reason: the people of the whole nation would actually be able to select the nominees rather than the power brokers of each party.

    Imagine if, given the size of our country, the power brokers would not be able to target the smallest segment of our society with millions of dollars in order to gain momentum in Iowa and NH, but would actually have to rely on ISSUES that matter to the country as a whole. OK, I'm dreaming.


    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  196. Tom Constantine

    First, make it a criminal offense for anyone to make any public move toward running for President before July 4th of the year of the election.

    Second, hold a National primary for both parties on Labor Day. NO conventions.

    Third, eliminate the Electoral College and elect the President via popular vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  197. Fred Walley

    Jack ~ I am an in-betweener (independent). Have been on both sides of the isle and decided to vote for the best candidate; however, in Oklahoma (and others) the independent cannot vote until "others" have decided for whom they can vote. My idea is, as one of your readers suggested, KISS... Have a day for ALL to vote and proportionally devide the delegats. At the convention it would be decided who would be the candidate in the parties. It galls me that I cannot vote except as decided by "others". Thanks, Fred in Chandler

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  198. Chad from Alabama

    Jack, I like the system we have now as far as the schedule is set up. If we were to jump to a National Primary with all states voting on one day, it would make it virtually impossible for a candidate without big money like Huckabee or even McCain from competing and give someone like Mitt Romney an unbelievable advantage.

    Presidential Campaigns already put too much stock into money, a national primary would be 20 times worse and take even more power away from the actual issues.

    We need more focus on issues, not money.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  199. John Ruggeri

    Oh were do I begin first I would get rid of the ridiculous idea of the caucus. Then I would go on to have every have there primary on the same day. Its not fair for states that people other wise not care about such as iowa and new hampshire to have most of the power in somthing as far reaching and important as who the next president will be. After we fix the primary process we can concentrate on abolishing the moronic electroral college.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  200. ann adams

    I would go to one national primary in June for each party, either straight plurality or based proportionately by state. The winner becomes the candidate and select shis/her vice president.

    While I was at it, I'd shorten the campaign season to about 90 days and do something about finance reform. I like what I've seen of Canada's system.

    No delegates, no convention. We don't need them. Even the media is bored with them.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  201. Chuck in Oregon

    The whole process needs to be overhauled. The only requirement should be that you are registered to vote. We should not be forced to select a party and if we we did then we should be able to cross party lines and vote where we feel we will gain the most as a nation. Hold the primaries on the same date, make it national at one time, and lets stop the excess spending. Hold 3 weeks of national debates from both parties for a period of 3 months and let the candidates visit and campaign in the states they so choose. Then let the nation vote, by popular vote. This caucus and other crap sucks. Popular vote to narrow it down and popular vote to select the President. Every voting American should be able to vote for whom ever they feel regardless of party lines, and every vote should count.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  202. Fred

    Those who support counting Michigan and Florida on the Democratic side are missing the point completely. The problem started when these 2 states went against the rules set by the national party. If states started doing this, there will be no credibility for the national party. Those who are pushing for counting the 2 states (for obviously political gains) should urge their candidate to run as an independent.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  203. Mark DeVries

    The best solution to this problem is not a national primary day. What we need are 5 primary dates each two weeks apart. Each date shoiuld have 10 states beginning with the 10 least populous states until the 5th primary where the 10 largest states vote. This way lesser known candidates can gain momentum early until the last date when more than half the delegates will still be available.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  204. William O Austin

    They should let the people pick the president and by the way Jack you and Wolf should run for president,

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  205. Jennifer

    The solution is to change the individual states to regional primaries so candidates don't have to spend money in each state, and they should be spaced apart to allow time for campaigning. They should commence about 6 months before and no political advertising a month before the election. There should be free air time equally for the candidates who are in the running in the last 6 months.

    We should have elections by popular votes to save time and money and be more democratic. The 10 top candidates can have a run off, then the top two, and whoever comes in second, no matter which party, can be Vice President. As in Europe we must have a coalition government so we don't have gridlock and power games.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  206. Ryan LeBlanc

    While I understand that the current system may be considered unfair because of the undue importance given to Iowa and New Hampshire, ultimately this is the most fair the system could be. It allows candidates with little national recognition to have a fighting chance in the primaries. These States pride themselves on choosing a winner based on qualities, not name recognition helping to ensure the best candidate wins. If the candidate was chosen in one event, who would be the nominees? For the dems, it would undoubtedly be Clinton not because of her qualities, but because no other candidate was perceived to have a chance. For the GOP, it depends on whose campaign hadn't imploded at the time. Regardless, it is poor policy to disregard other choices just because they aren't as well known. A democracy includes the maximization of choice, and this is the best way to do it.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  207. steve

    Well jack, i believe we need to re balance the primary system so every state is on the same day like the general elections. However, we should also balance out how much power each state gets. Personally i believe that each state should count as 1. somewhat like how each state gets two senators. whoever gets the most states wins simple as that. Of course considering the bureaucratic nature of both parties i doubt this would ever happen. Who ever does win in 08 is going to have a lot of problems to fix

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  208. Lee

    I say: Make a law requiring all major parties (defined in terms of previous vote count) to restrict their primaries to a 3 month period, say March through May. That should give the candidates enough time to fly around the country while preventing smaller earlier votes from killing off otherwise viable campaigns.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  209. Cisco


    As a student at Union College in upstate NY, I once pondered this question in a political science course. Here's a solution I considered then: Use the first 28 weeks of the year allocating 2 states/ territories per week. Let the candidates pick their poison with regards to strategy and campaign fund allocation (a la Rudy G). Mandate that candidates participate through to the end and participate in a minimum amount of debates. Allow room for 3- 5 day long breaks through out. for prep rest and debates.


    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  210. Shane

    Jack –

    States deserve to have their voices heard with out the influence of prior state primary elections. We have a single day to elect the president. We should have a single day to elect the nominees.

    Until we set our primary system up properly I urge every state to pass laws that tie delegates to electoral votes. If a party strips a state of half its delegates the states should have half of their electoral votes automatically go to the other party for the upcoming election.

    That will shift the power from the parties to the states.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  211. Phil Guercio

    I agree with the concept of one primary day in all states. I would point out that another thing to look at is how the candidate is awarded delegates in each state. One way is winner takes all. Another is a caucus or convention (Usually brokered by party leadership in each district), and finally we have the percentage allocation based on the popular vote. I favor the last method. The down side to one day is our only look at candidates will be television ads.

    I don not agree that Florida and Michigan delegates should count based on the vote. First the Democrats all agreed to abide by the DNC rules (Voted on by all states) and secondly no one except Hillary Clionton appeared on the ballot in Michigan as Dennis K does not warrant a place on the ballot.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  212. Mickey Jones

    One primary, winner take all for each party. Simple, for the people for the people.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  213. Joan Harris

    We were not able to vote in Florida's primary as we are independents. I think we have just as much right to vote for a presidential candidate as any republican or democrat. I thought everyone is intitled to vote in our country.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  214. Andy

    We need the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire to weed out the Sam Brownbacks and Dennis Kuciniches that only appeal to a small piece of the electorate, respectively Midwestern evangelicals and left-wing blue collar workers. But a national primary afterwards might work; I'm a Maryland Republican who is a little disappointed that my vote might just be passed over next Tuesday because half the delegates are being given out today.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  215. Carol L Pilcher

    Jack, I certainly would not have the caucus. I am an Iowan...this year I witnessed non Iowans imported to support Obama. This year after all of my years of attending the caucus I feel that my vote was stolen..you see you do not have to have any kind of Identification, just register to vote at the caucus. I think we should have a June primary nationwide, same day. Carol

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  216. Joe Rittenhouse

    One of the best ways the goverment could change it up would be a state lottery based on Electoral Votes. Instead of leaving it up to the same 4 states each time, Choose the the states based based on a lottery that would force canidates to go to smaller states and other big states and allow other pople in the country voice thier oppinion.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  217. Cruz R

    I think we should allow everyone to vote in the primaries (Rep/Dem/Ind), it is the only why to really get the best candidate to run for the presidency. As things stands right now, the system obligates you (in some states) to be part of a political party if you want to participate in a primary. What if you independent? Your left out, the choice is to go and register with a party which you don’t fully believe in. This Country is about choice, where is the choice in that?

    Cruz R.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  218. R


    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  219. Timothy Davis

    Break the nation into four geographical regions with equal population. Then you have four consecutive Tuesdays of winner take all primaries (not caucuses). The order of the regional primaries would be selected at random. The primary should be held in the late summer, not so early in the year. The national parties could enforce this process by disenfranchising any state that didn’t play along.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  220. John

    It is ridiculous to give certain states more influence on picking our president than other states. An easy and equitable solution: 1. Set voting dates and hold all the primaries during a 3 month period. 2. By LOTTERY, let it be determined when each of the states will hold their primaries. This is a fair way of doing it. Iowa and New Hampshire are nice states, but why should they always have more undue influence than the rest of the nation.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  221. joe m

    make it simpler and easier to figure out.

    1. have all of it happen on one day
    2. forget all this bussiness of delegates and especially super delegates
    3. have all the candidates compete on the same level palying field

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  222. Bob Murphy

    I think a two-tier national primary would work. (A single event might result in a small plurality determining the candidate.)

    Round One – Feb – a preferance only vote nationwide – no delegates at stack – those receiving at least 15% are "in" the primary

    Round Two – Apr/May – actual national primary – delegates selected – max of 6 candidates with the 15% rule – more likely 4 would make it.

    That way all the candidates have a shot... all the voters have two shots... all help narrow the field and then the second vote really means something.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  223. Chris Bryan

    Dear Jack,
    One year prior to a Federal election, wanna-be candidates would have a one week period to throw their hats into the ring. Then, starting the first of Janurary, they could start the campaign trail. There would be no "early" primaries allowed, and all states would have primaries, no caucuses. Maybe that way, the public wouldn't be fed up with the whole process before it even begins!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  224. david

    jack , i would:

    1st: do away with delegate votes and only go by the population vote.empowering the people nationally and individually.

    2nd:give a national day off to everybody , and let that day be known nationally so that everyone 18 and older will vote.

    3rd:50 days before the voting date every candidate will go to every state and rally and take q&a . also hold 1 debate every 10 days.

    4th:voting will be done strictly on paper ballots.
    thank you

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  225. Tim from NY

    I have a novel idea... Why not scrap the primary elections entirely and let the US Supreme Court choose the nominees! Oh, wait. Never mind. We did that once already and it didn't turn out too well.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  226. Rachel Bauer

    I would do away with the primary system. On election day if you have lets say 12 people running the one with the most popular votes wins.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  227. Linda Lloyd

    Yes, I would like to see a change in how the primaries in this country are being handled. In Idaho you must attend a caucus to be represented. If you are unable to attend a caucus but would like to have a say in the way your county votes, you are totally left out of the process.
    With the primaries being held at different times of the year, sometimes the candidate that I would like to have the choice of voting for is eliminated and I have to take my 2nd or 3rd choice. It is frustrating to say the least when you feel like you have to settle for the lessor "best" person for the job.
    I also think that the popular vote should determine the winner in the presidential elections. The electorial college is very outdated and needs to be abandoned.
    Thank you for taking the time to listen to my comments.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  228. Ben, 18 from California

    Hold a national primary it's as simple as that. Also, have an official start of the campagining season instead of making the lead up to the election a horse race instead of focusing on the candidates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  229. Dan Dover


    Thanks for asking. I have been promoting an alternative to anyone who whoul listen. What we need is a national, non-partisan process where anyone who wants to gets a chance to nominate 3-5 people in January. The most frequently nominated people could be winnowed down through 3-4 vote by mail processes throughout the year (election year) until the top 2 contenders are left for a vote in November. This would take the big money out of the process and reduce the durability of the two party system which gets most of it's support from the presidential system where one person need aver 50 percedent of the electoral vote. I think it is time for a system like this.



    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  230. Adam, LV, NV

    First off, cacuses need to go. To me, this resembles the old secret police type person hovering over your shoulder looking at who you are voting for and punishing you if you don't. Your vote should be between you and god and no one else. It also reminds me of the old smoke filled room days.

    Second, it all needs to be done on the same day. Hold the primary in May with a national vote, winner take all. Too much weight is given to smaller areas because (especially with the Democrats) of districts being drawn oddly. Also, independents must vote for and independent. None of this flip flopping that causes true base voting to be skewed.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  231. Chris Carter

    The first thing we have to do is fix the money. Talking about changing the way we select our candidates without addressing the issue of how we finance these elections is a waste of time.

    The second thing I would do is separate the states into two categories: small and large by population. Then hold a primary with all of the small states to allow them to narrow down the process. Finally, I would have the larger states hold separate primaries, two or three at a time, to pick the final nominee. I would suggest that a lottery be created to decide which states in the second group will hold their primary first for the initial implementation of this system, and from that point on primary position for the second group would be decided on a rotating system.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  232. Gene Laskowitz

    One day of primaries! Imagine the monies saved.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  233. Loren Johnston

    OK here we go, put all the candidates on an island, give them some challenges, don't let anyone participate who holds left of center viewpoints, encourage them to fight amongst themselves, make sure they don't get much sleep, drag the process on for months, let the voters call in their choice, save hundreds of millions of dollars.........makes about as much sense as our system, what a joke, do you think we could convince any country in the world to adopt such a corrupt, expensive way to select a leader?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  234. Jack Gifford

    All primaries open and at the same time. Delegates by share of each voting district. No super delegates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  235. Christine from California

    Primaries –
    change to a national primary on a WEEKEND, not a Tuesday.
    eliminate the stupid conventions and the delegates, all candidates apply to be on a national ballot – NO 'party candidate"
    make the primary six weeks prior to the general election
    use public funds only
    hold more debates and town hall meetings

    General Election –
    have the election on a WEEKEND, six weeks after the national primary
    abolish the electoral college and make the president be elected by the popular
    public funding only

    Would prefer a parliamentary system to get rid of dopes like W

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  236. Doug

    I have shared this same thought for years. In this day and age candidates cover 3-5 states a day. They are no longer riding by railcar needing months to cover the nation. Have the entire National Primary on one day or have them held all in a one or two week time period. This current system is foolish. By the time it gets to a third of the states it's already over. How can that be representative of the entire nation? Texas isn't until a month from Super Tuesday and Pennsylvania is two months after Super Tuesday. These are two very delegate rich states but by the time they get to the polls the race will be over.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  237. Mat (Cleveland, OH)


    It seems that the concerns for the setup we have now come mostly from the states holding their primaries after Super Tuesday. Even in such a close race as this year, several people I know have not registered to vote and will not be heard since they expect our March primary date to leave our entire state little or no voice. If we're going to act as if this is the primary date to end all primary dates and cover it as so, why don't we make it so and have Super Tuesday (or Mega Tuesday, or Giga Tuesday, I suppose next is Tera Tuesday) become the last day for primaries. The early states can be chosen on a rotating basis, so that the minor candidates can sometimes be heard without big campaign money standing in the way, although that's another subject for another time.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  238. Mark Mackie, Santa Clarita, CA

    The entire primary should be held on a single day, but what would be more effective is if the media - ie cable news - actually gave equal coverage to every candidate and refused to allow political pundits (better know as ratings-hungry windbags) to tell us what the candidates think and what they've done right and wrong. Give each individual his or her time to articulate their position and allow all Americans the opportunity to judge for themselves. Unfortunately, selling of the news has become a money-making business at the expense of unbiased reporting.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  239. Will Lynn

    Hold one primary day for all states six months before the national election. Make it illegal for any candidate to campaign prior to three months before the primary. Eliminate delegates and super-delegates. Limit debates to one per party prior to a national primary and a single debate between party candidates during the six-month period between the primary and the general election. Establish a $1 million cap per candidate on advertising and campaign expenses. Make it mandatory that the media report on the world news and non-election news for four-fifths of every broadcast. Outlaw pundits.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  240. kitty

    The primaries should all be held on the same day & there should be NO superdelegates. My vote counts as just that...a vote, so why does Bill Clinton's vote count as tens of thousands of votes? (Oh yea, so Hillary has a better chance of getting in the white house) What ever happened to of the people, by the people, for the people?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  241. Barrett A. Metzler, Bearden, AR 71720

    No primaries. On Jan. 15th 2009, anyone wanting to become President will make application to be on the next Presidential ballot. The only way that anyone can make their qualities known is to send out one national newsletter per year, extolling their virtues and accomplishments. A percentage of the government tax system will be used to pay the postage and mailing costs.
    The media will be allowed to support its candidate, but must provide equal coverage during a calendar month to all other candidates. During the ninety days prior to election, all candidates can have public events and volunteer phone banks, but no TV or Radio ads. At this time, one extra newsletter can be mailed. The costs of the last ninety days must be borne by the candidates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  242. Ted

    The boiler room politics we use for both partys just plain sucks. It is set up and operated to maintain strict party division and party control of who will win. The Democrats have their brokered conventions and status quo old Washington super delegates, and this definitely needs to be scrapped. The GOP has their fixed voting machines. In this day and age of electronics, there is no excuse for not having 1 person, 1 vote. Yes we need change, and as long as Bill Clinton can use his super delegate votes for his wife, there can be NO democracy. He should abstain comploetely.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  243. Wivine

    I don't think the US has democracy. If they have then it is a broken and bad one.

    They are setting a bad example to the other countries that they are trying to influence. How can a candidate raise millions of dollars a day, while most of the people are suffering? You should be ashamed of your country, people!

    It's sad. Also why there is only 2 parties. Is that democracy really? I don't think so.

    Stop those republicans and democrates. The whole system needs change, not only the people that are running or voting but the system that is being used to implent those new values if there are still values in this country.


    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  244. Gaile Smith

    I feel cheated. I live in Florida where a Republican Governor and a Republican legislature decided to move our primary up to January 29th despite the fact that the Democratic National Chairman said we would be penalized. Because of this decision American Samoa will have more clout in their voices than we here in Florida do. Seems quite unfair to me.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  245. kristy mundt

    We need to have a national primary. So much money is waste on campaign ads. The millions that have been spent this year could do so much more for this country and its people. We should only allow one month to be spent on a campaign for President. We live in the 21st century. We have instant news coverage of everything. All candidates should be allowed to spend the same amount of money and they all should get the same coverage one TV. We do not need to spend one year on the Presidential race.

    The news should also not cover the election on election day. They should not give any predications of who the winners are. This country is in six different time zones. We here in California do not want to know what the results are back east. We want to vote and not think that our votes don't count. We need to let every vote count, and the only way to do that is to let the people make up there minds and have there voices heard. We also do not need the electoral college in this day and age. We need the President to be elected by the people.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  246. Ken

    Far be it for me to suggest to any government official on how to make everything simple for the American people, But I suggest that the primaries all be held on one day. Maybe some day our elected officials will listen to what is advised..We shall see...

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  247. William Shoemaker

    Re: The Primary system:

    Plain and simple, it should be a national primary. True, voting on six or eight candidates in each party might seem like a nightmare, but it seems you could vote your choice and the most votes gets the most delegates to the respective convewntions. There's got ot be more to it than that, but that would be ensible start.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  248. Nick

    Simple formula:

    First Tuesday in May: National Primary Day

    -All 50 states hold simultaneous OPEN primaries, so even independents have a voice.
    -All the candidates that have the endurance to campaign through Primary Day will be able to receive votes. Candidates that don't have the fortitude can sway their supporters to other candidates and withdraw before Primary Day.
    -Eliminates the favoritism granted to New Hampshire and Iowa.
    -Concentrates the attention of the electorate to just two days during election year.
    -Stripping of state's delegates is prohibited/eliminated.
    -Pre-primary campaign debates will include ALL the candidates.
    -Occurs during May sweeps, so even TV can mooch the ratings off the event.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  249. Jim Blevins

    The "primary" system is the weakest part of any democracy because before the average person gets to make any choices, the power people have severely limited the candidates. Given the power of communications available today, especially with the Internet, it should be possible for the average person to be much more involved from the very beginning. We are starting to see the change already. A variety of Internet sites and talk radio shows have already shown their power to affect candidacy. Popular use of the media and a national primary would go a long way toward a true democracy.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  250. Anne Grace

    I believe all Presidential candidates should announce in November of the year before the election. They can campaign all they want to from then until March of the election year. "Super Tuesday" should be held the first Tuesday of March with all states having Primaries or Caucuses at that time. (Besides, the weather will be better then!) Anne Grace Bluffton, South Carolina

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  251. Steve FLA

    The only way to conduct successful primaries is to do it on a regional basis. This
    would allow a candidiate to stay in a specific area rather than flying back and
    forth ( east coast....west coast ) across the continent. I would have NE region in
    January ( nice and cold....see who really wants it ). SE region in June ( nice and hot and the mosquitos are out ). Febuary, maybe the SW. March, the West.
    April, lets think about snow melting Central area. May, the Mid – Atlantic states.
    The importance of Iowa and New Hampshire are ridiculous. This would save
    jet fuel and polute the air less.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  252. Diane from Kennewick WA

    It's time for a change. The current system with its primary-caucus-convention process controlled by the parties is fundamentally flawed. Washington state has a primary which requires you to sign a party loyalty oath, but your vote doesn't even count. What a joke! This is supposed to be a government of the PEOPLE, not the parties. Let's have a national primary–we'd save a lot of money and it can't be any worse than the current system.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  253. Ben

    I strongly advocate a national primary. It's completely outrageous that as a West Virginian, I have two choices for my vote. Almost every other state votes before us, with the exception of this year's GOP convention. Everyone deserves an equal shot at choosing their party's nominees. I think more people would turn out to vote in later primary states if there was a national primary. Plus, it helps work out the kinks for November after doing a run-through in May.

    May Primary Election, November General. That way Candidates have from January to May to make stops in all 50 states.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  254. Sara Volk

    Every single state would vote on the same day. Period. While we are at it, lets get rid of the superdelegates and the electoral college, and have a real live representative democracy for a change.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  255. Judy from Florida

    I would hold a nationwide primary on one day and GET RID OF ALL THE "SUPER" DELEGATES! I also don't understand how the DNC can strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates. Where is the ACLU? I thought the Democrats were the inclusive party. With all the game-playing and shenanigans of the "Old Guard", I can't even pretend I live in a democracy anymore.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  256. brenda nxion

    In Florida, it was (is) an overwhelmingly republican legislature that deprived the democrats of their delegates by moving up the primary. Can you say "right wing conspiracy?"

    February 5, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  257. michele k

    Jack! One primary !! How Democratic ! Then my vote really would count !

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  258. Nate in Urbana, IL

    Do away with the delegate system and electoral college that has served to let candidates slip through without true direct mandate from the people. Much like national healthcare, we're one of the only industrialized nations that still is without this true democratic necessity. Anybody studying American government in Europe must be laughing at our threadbare democracy.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  259. Glenda Van Slyke

    States should be able to have primaries when they want them. Delegates need to be awarded according to the popular vote. There should be no such thing as Super Delegates. No Freebee delegates. They should be representing the people not a party boss or personal preference. The same should go for the primary election. It's time the people's vote counted to the end. Otherwise, why is there so much spent on the election process? If the decision is going to be made for us. That is certainly not a Republic or Democracy.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  260. Dan in Oklahoma

    The current Primary/Election system is a sham, The primaries, should be just like the election process, and add a twist,; give a moderate a tax credit to individual people who vote in both the primary and the general election.

    It should be open voting not based on registered party, it should be all states same week, same days, with no report till all votes are counted.

    The past election process obviously no longer works, the last 8 years told us that, its time for change!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  261. Tom

    Change 1) Each state gives the precentage of delegates to the those w/ equal percentage of votes.
    Change 2) Do away w/ super delegates......all delegates = and MUST vote according to designation........NO SWAPING OR TRADING OF DELEGATES.


    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  262. Mark Mickles

    States should hold primaries and caucuses on whatever date they choose and all candidates may campaign in those states prior to the state’s primary or caucus date. The only difference is that the results are not announced until after all states have voted. This would prevent any state’s result influencing the vote of the nation.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  263. Barb in Oregon

    About to write a comment but it's all been said it the previous e-mails. It is soooo simple. One primary day for the nation, no super delegates, limited campaign time, one political fund to share, no "greatest political tearms & pundits" and no media announcements or projections of outcome until all states have voted, and NO electoral college. In a democracy ALL have a vote and the majority wins. It that so hard!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  264. Oscar - Los Angeles

    The primary system as well as the electoral process should be taken to the trash can. We consistently watch debates as if it were made for TV drama and not demand from our leader’s true results. Make each candidate file a Declaration of Presidency. In this document will be the things they're going to get done as president and then we as Americans should view them, and make a judgment on who we choose. This will reduce the amount of money spent visiting all those states. Then we should pick and grade the Presidents on their declarations. I wish I had a job where I'm not graded on my performance. I'm an African American Democrat, but I'm also a conservative democrat. I want to hear what Mike Huckabee has to say. But you TV folks won't let us hear him. Change the system so the candidates while spend less time fundraising and more time working on the promises they made.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  265. Eli

    Any system that improves the voting process for everyone. But most of all, get the media to report the news and not make the news.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  266. Maryanne Johnston


    If you actually believe that there will be no candidates from Florida or Michigan at the convention you must have just arrived in the USA!!! Talk about a fairy tale.

    Personally I love the way this whole primary system has turned out this year and Pennsylvania is a late state. All of the candidates were vetted and winnowed out in the early primaries then the rest of the country gets to pick among the actual serious candidates. I don't have to sit through Kucinich, Guiliani, Paul, Thompson and the rest of the mixed bag of nuts. In the old days this was worked out in the smoke filled rooms that we did away with.

    There will be just enough super delegates to keep things sane at the convention. This system is great!!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  267. Earl Caouette

    We need all the caucuses and primaries on the same day so we all have a say on who the finalist will be and than all vote in a popular vote for the top person. The electoral vote is unfair and outdated. Earl. Elk River MN

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  268. Scott

    If you read all of these postings, you will find that the "POPULAR" idea is that there be a NATIONAL primary and that POPULAR vote is what matters. The old system is out-dated. In the age of instant communication, I don't NEED a delegate to vote for me. Let the people decide!

    Scott Darnall
    San Antonio, TX
    One Vote could make a difference!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  269. Jonathan Sharkey

    Contrary to the current popular wisdom, I believe that a national primary is exactly the wrong way to select a nominee. Having this big Super Duper Grand Gigantic Tsunami Tuesday gives an enormous advantage to the front runners. The problem is not that Iowa and New Hampshire have inordinate influence, but that having to run nationally this early in the process makes it impossible for anyone to build a small campaign into a large one. A Jimmy Carter (or even Bill Clinton) campaign is impossible with this massive front loading.

    If I were the Primary Primate with absolute power to design a system, I would decree that the primary season run from March thru June starting with the small states and gradually building up to the big ones. This would give a campaign time to build momentum. A series of small wins could pave the way for bigger wins. A truly national campaign built on local grassroots effort would be a necessity. The successful candidate would have to do a lot of "real" campaigning all accross the country before even getting to the big media states. Interest would build along with the campaign leading into the convention, instead of having everything over by February and then sitting on our thumbs for nine months.

    But then, it's not really about good process or good government, is it? Gov. Swarzenegger put it succinctly, "The money that is raised in California is spent in California." It's all about big bucks being spent by our permanent campaign industry - an industry the states are scrambling to court. After all, this kind of money only comes around once every four years.

    J Sharkey
    Mayor pro Tem
    Port Hueneme, CA

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  270. Roberta

    1. A national primary around April 15th (this eliminates winter weather)

    2. Public funding of all elections. This is the only way to give people with
    great ideas a chance. Now we might have to do something like a
    limited funding for a 3 month period and than use petitions or something
    to keep the number reasonable.

    3. Forget debates which are not debates except in name only and require the
    networks (which are using public airways) to provide at least 30 minutes
    but 60 minutes would be better for a candidate to give a detailed policy

    4. Require newspapers to also provide free space to summarize positions.

    5. Use the internet and since not everyone has access set up something at
    libraries or other public spaces where people can come and have a
    virtual town hall meeting.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  271. Stanci Soderstrom

    Jack – Yes, the timing of the primaries is questionable at best and, truthfully, unfair. However, I believe the biggest problem with our primary system is delegates. Why do we have a representative system? How about we simply start counting the votes and truly let the citizens decide.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  272. Big Business

    I would not change anything except having the group "3rd world america" be in charge of the voting machines

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  273. Randy (Georgia)

    A national primary would be great. It would remove the MEDIA from being the biggest influence in the choice of candidates that we have to select from. The media has become so stuck on ratings, that they just focus on what is “EXCITING” to report on regardless of the real impacts. That’s why i’m enjoying everytime actual voters go to the polls and make the political pundits look like idiots. For far too long the Media has affected the outcome of political races by the type of reporting they do; hopefully voters will continue to go to the polls and express the wishes of the PEOPLE!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  274. Gerrit

    Jack, it's simple: one vote, one day, one paper trail. Like we do up here in Canada. The rest of us would endorse anything that could restore what America needs most of right now, which is adult supervision. Thanks for the show. Have a good one, Gerrit in Quebec

    February 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  275. Bernita

    It should be done in a drawing that is held at the convention. The party that holds its convention first should draw names publicly on tv. With the first state or states holding their primary or primaries first, according to whatever date is set. Other states should have the right to go first in setting the tone for the election. It is time for a change.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  276. Travis in Indianapolis

    I think it’s ridiculous that 22 states citizens are not having their voice heard today, including mine. A national primary would make everything much simpler, but I guess our politics is never simple. A national primary would also eliminate the "momentum" factor which seems to also decide the nominee. Come May 6th when Indiana finally gets to vote the nominees will already be chosen and all we get to do is award our delegates to the candidate that the other states have already chosen. Go Obama!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  277. Kay Young

    We should have 1 primary day and let all the votes count for each candidate, not delegates. And in the regular election we should elect by popular vote.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  278. Toby

    (1) We would have to change who gets to vote: They would have to be smarter than a fifth grader!
    (2) We would need to have one on one interviews: The debates did not let everyone have equal time.
    (3) We would need to vote on the same days: This would allow for equality of elimination.
    (4) We would need to fund the election: This would allow the people to buy their vote not special interests.
    (5) We would need to examine what went wrong in the past: This would prove that the I.Q. of a crowd is ZERO!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  279. Forrester

    Have a National Primary ...Get rid of the delegate super delegate (non) Representation crap on both sides...have a 4 day Vote Weekend, 1 person 1 vote with a paper trail

    Vote for whom ever you want i.e. anyone can vote for anyone REP / DEM / IND Green etc...whatever party affiliation.

    Popular vote wins, and if there is a single candidate that gets over over 50% in the primary...they are it...

    The People are sick to death of Politics and Politicians working this OUTDATED 2 Party System and having Delegates, Super Delegates or winner take all, defeat a Popular vote.

    This country is here to Protect and serve the People, Not to give Politicians, People with Power, Money, or Corporations, more control over US, and less voice and representation for the People.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |

    Let the people vote for their president, abolish this two party system. We live in a country where freedom is highly valued, but how come there are only two parties that we have to choose from?

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  281. Gary and Nancy

    We would propose a one to three day national or regional primary. Here in Montana, our votes seldom matter, as candidates and winners are announced long before our polls close. We're not very big fans of caucuses either. What happened to one voter/one vote! Our State Republican Committee has even disenfranchised it's own base by allopwing only 2000 or so party elite participate in their caucus.

    Here's an idea, seal all ballot boxes until the last precint in the farthest western district (Guam?) is closed, then start counting.

    Gary and Nancy

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  282. Marcus Stephens

    I would like to see five weeks of primaries, ten states each week. Give each candidate a chance to become better known, so its not just a popularity contest. It needs to go strictly by popular vote to tally the delegates, no superdelegates, its just a ridiculous way to do things. They should also switch which states go first each election year, let everyone play a part.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  283. Sharon Thompson

    First: There should be a limit on the amount of money that can be raised; and amount for the primary campaigns and an amount for the actual Presidential campaign. This would even the playing field and take the focus off who is collecting how many dollars and from whom. Then see how well the candidate and staff can budget that money to last for the entire campaign period. No extra cash allowed, no $1000 a plate dinners, no withdrawing from savings, no ATM cards, etc. You get the picture. This could be a viable way to find out whether or not the candidates know anything about how to manage money! It would require real budgeting and planning to get the biggest bang for the buck. I would say at this point most of them are clueless; they have high-paid staff who handle everything. Limits on campaign spending should be on the ballot in the very near future.

    Second: Just as there are term limits on politicians in office, we need limits on how long candidates can campaign for the primary election. We the people should not have to inundated with all their posturing, back-stabbing, pointing fingers, wasting money and so on for more than a few months! There has to be some common sense involved in establishing a reasonable amount of time for both campaigns; primary and general election for President of the United States.

    Third: Consideration should be given to eliminating primary elections and electoral votes. Let the people vote and the candidate with the most votes is President! What a concept. I believe this would eliminate voter apathy.

    I am extremely proud to be an American; not because of any of these candidates, or any politicians currently in office. I am proud of our founding fathers who gave us our freedoms in this country founded on belief in God. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, "I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proof I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ' except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it', this I firmly believe".

    February 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  284. Jane

    To be fair to all candidates, all primarys should be held on the same day, allowing ALL to vote. If we had more meaningful debates with equal time for ALL candidates, people would have an opportunity to get to know the candidates befor the primary. As it stands now, many states are disinfranchised and independants completely blocked. Look at the farce in WV today, if that's not cheating, WHAT IS!!!!

    February 5, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  285. Michael

    I would have four regional primaries, two weeks apart, and have the news media report on each candidate, equally. One candidate could not receive more time than the other. This primary season the media has given more time to Hilary Clinton and Obama, than to John Edwards and the other candidates, on the Republican side, not much has been said about Ron Paul and others, mainly McCain, Romney, and Huckabee have been the focus of the reports. I would also put a limit on the amount of money each candidate can spend.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  286. Linda Stella

    I guess this is too simple. One Super Tuesday for “All” States / voters, One Primary for “All” States / voters, and One Election Day for “All” States /voters.
    Gee remember this:
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.",

    February 5, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  287. David

    Yes I been talking about this for about 7 years now. First, make all campaigns funded by a national campaign fund, no one gets any advantages just because they have ritch friends. Second, Republicans and Democrats would have the primaries on the same day with all the states included, including military personel and citizens living abroad. Third, popular vote shall rule, the majority should decide not delegates or super delegates. No more electoral college, no more winner takes all, no more splitting delegate. Fourth, no voting machines aloud at all, whats wrong with enviromental paper, so we can keep track of the voting. And finally, it dont matter if your a Democrat, Republican or Independent you could vote for any Candidate of any party that you want once. That way no Candidate will cater to any particular extreme group, they would have to worry on applying to the Majority of Americans!!!!! Thats Real Democracy!!!!

    We are the most powerful country in the world lets start acting like it.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  288. William Whalen

    I have got to opinions to fix this. First is make the bigger primaries towards the end. That way California, Florida, New York, and all the other big states don't have all the say. In addition to that make the states close together have primaries the same day, so they don't waste the supports money flying from NY to Cali three or four times a week. So have New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island will all have the first day of elections. Eventually the choices will diminish but slowly and people will stick it out thinking they can pick up more later.

    Add this to my fathers idea of holding the all the counts till the last primary. This still allows the candidates to travel to all the states to campaignto all the voters. Now media sources will try to poll people to predict who won and close races will likely be the only ones that are indefinite. Also this would waste a lot more money with people who really have no chance at being elected, and less money would be given in the primary because the candidates can not prove momentum. We can use Al Gores lock box to hold the ballots. Sorry Al.

    The pros and cons of change. I dont like a national primary day.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  289. Louise Fontaine

    The election system has been broken for some time, just like the rest of our government. In a presidential election, the campaigning should be limited to the year of the election. Example: Candidates campaign from January to June. A nationwide primary takes place in June. Winners campaign until the election in November; we cast our votes and Voila! we're blessedly done with it.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  290. Randy Alexander

    Forget the Primaries – don't need them. Everyone would be registered as Independents. The Presidential Candidates would participate in a series of "true debates", where you actually must respond in detail to questions and avoid useless "sound-bites". Then, like caucuses, candidates who receive less than 15% of the audience's vote after the debate – for 3 consecutive debates – must drop out of the competition for president. After a year of this process, the people would vote for a president from among the surviving candidates.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  291. Nicholas

    Today I went to vote in California and felt robbed of my choices! Two of my top choices arnn't even on the ballot... We should have a nationwide blind election all on the same day. We should vote 4 times over the series of a year to narrow down to the final canidetes for each party. I think that would be fair Jack!.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  292. Ed Curtis

    The system we currently have is inherently unfair to states that hold primaries later than January. In order to fix this situation I would suggest the following steps:
    1.Allow NO campaining until January 1 of the election year. This means NO CAMPAIN ADS, NO LITERATURE SENT TO THE HOMES OF ANY VOTERS. Candidates should not even be allowed to announce their candidacy until Januayr 1.
    2.After January 1 there should be a 4 month period of campaining. There should be a series of at least 16 debates i(a minimum of 4 in each time zone) nvolving ALL candidates that have declared their candiacy. ALL candidates should be REQUIRED to participate in the debates in order to stay on the ballot for primaries to be held in May. Also, there should be a cap on money COLLECTED and money SPENT on campaigning during this period. This includes travel, literature, TV and Radio ads, staff expenditures – in shor EVERYTHING. NO CANDIDATE shouldreceive contributions of more than $1,000, and only from individuals – NO PAC MONEY, NO CONTRIBUTIo"NS FROM ANY LOBBYISTSS, NO PERSONAL MONEY – PERIOD
    3.EVERY STATE (Puerto Rico, etc.) should hold its primary election on May 1. All delegates would be decided on the basis of the vote on a proportional basis.
    4.Both Democratic and Republican conventions hould be held in August to pick a candidate and a running mate.
    5.As soon as candiates have been choses, they may begin campaining for the presidency.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  293. Steve

    A national primary is the only way to go, preferably held in April or May. Each state would get the same number of base delegates (say, 20 or 25) with up to 15 or 20 additional delegates based on population–largest states would get extra 15 or 20, smallest would get 1–structure it so that the largest state could not have more than twice the number of delegates as the smallest. Such a system has two benefits: gives all states some clout and shortens the whole election process.

    February 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  294. David - New York

    The popular vote is all that should matter. Let the citizens decide! Enough of this archaic delegate nonsense. People vote for McCain, people vote for Clinton... person with the most votes wins. Done.

    How is this delegate and electoral college system aloud to remain?? In modern close elections, it clearly doesn't work.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  295. Derek

    Jack, after reviewing the above comments, it makes me appreciate the Canadian electoral system (although I may be biased as I am a Canadian).

    I agree with many of your readers regarding the advertising by the candidates. It seems like a waste of a significant amount of money when all that is accomplished is the bad-mouthing of the other candidate. Secondly, the process needs to be simplified.

    My suggestion is an arm-wrestling tournament with the winner becoming president for life...............although that would probably result in another Clinton presidency as I do not believe any of the guys could take her.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  296. Susan Carter

    I have been voting for 30 years and did not realize until this year how disenfranchised ALL voters are. We should have demanded major electoral reforms after the 2000 election fiasco. All this party bickering is nauseating. How dare I be told that my primary vote didn't count. We need to go to popular elections an by-pass the political machines. Susan in Michigan

    February 5, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  297. Marc S

    Good idea, but good luck getting Republicans and Democrats to agree. ON ANYTHING.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  298. John

    I am frustrated with the current system. While it was set up by the nations founding fathers it was set up to be practical for that time. With modern comunication systems we should use the popular vote, not the electoral college system. That is why so many people feel their vote doesn't count.

    As far as the primary election, do we really need one? If so why? Why not be able to vote for the person you feel will do the best job, not the one who will do the least harm? If we do need a primary then it should be done by all 50 states on the same day, that is the best way to ensure that every vote REALLY does count.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  299. Thomas

    This is the Solution.

    The country is divided into six military districts. Six primaries and its over. Start with the least populated of the six regions and work your way up to the most populated. This way, everyone has made a contribution, its regional and it keeps the expenses down, thus making fundraising less of an issue as well.
    Thomas in New Jersey

    February 5, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  300. John M

    I compare the US elction, as it is now, to a overcooked food. On one side it wastes cooking gas, and on the other side time and energy of everybody. At the end what we get is a hotch potch of everything. I am not sure whether voters are aware of what they are doing at the end of a long campaign.
    I would want to see the campaign time reduced so that these candidates can do there work of serving the people more. Let them show their love for the country and people through their service. That way the candidates will have just enough time to expose their goodness and no time for criticising others.
    Second, eliminate the delegate business. Let the people elect their president. The people of this country are wise and informed enough to choose their president. The delegate way brings chances for malpractice.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  301. Susan


    I am a registered Republican, however I would like to know who decided and when that the Democratic vote would not count in either Florida or Michigan. How can anyone take our votes away from us? "Exactly who has that right?" I thought we were a democracy where everyone's vote counted. This certainly sounds like another Politcal tactic to me. Who should be contacted to voice our opinions, not that they would be heard!

    February 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  302. Jim Suthers

    While a national primary would level the playing field in some ways - no state or region would vote prior to another and, therefore, possibly influence voters in the primaries that follow - I would want it to be scheduled later rather than sooner. I think the entire campaign process is far too long (and getting longer all the time). I can't help but wonder if the reason voter turnout is so low for the general election is because, by the time we get through the long campaign cycle, voters are tired of the whole thing. Also, in terms of reform, I think it's more important to standardize the process and simplify the math. The appropriation of delegates is far too complicated. Lastly, banish the so-called "super delegates." Why should entrenched political powers be allowed to potentially supersede the will of the people? Like the Electoral College, the super delegates need to be consigned to the dust bin of history. It's "We the People," not "We the Oligarchy."

    February 5, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  303. Brent

    Seems alot of people are under the assumption that the U.S. IS a democracy. We are a federal republic that uses democratic principles. The most important aspect of this country is the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Which allow the states to choose as they will their system of nomination. It's there right. If Republican party of Missouri wants to have Chimps choose their candidate they should be able to do so. If we want a major overhaul to our election system all we need to do is quit using cable media for our only source of coverage. This media does not serve the people and is a disgrace to this country.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  304. Ron


    I must have been fooled all my life growing up in America since birth. I thought we voted for who we wanted to. Period, and the end. I thought we were something of a democracy. Instead, we have the media mouth gospel and so many fluffed up facts with distortion......Well, I almost cannot blame people for the outragious votes they cast because our reality TV paints for us something that is of a livable fantasy when in actuality, it is a nightmare. America lives in many fogs and it is sad. For instance, one fog that I know of America living in today is the 2008 Election for President. And I have found if you are not voting for Ron Paul, you are voting for the wrong person. It is simple and easy to know because of the internet. I can give no credit to our media for me knowing this. I can give no credit to our current system of voting today. Instead, I can only give praise to free thought and innovation. Image that. Thank God for the Internet. And Thank God for Ron Paul. Oh and the answer to your question, Jack: We need to go back to our Constitution and strictly adhere to it. Its actually quite simple. Anything less would be UnAmerican.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  305. Jeff

    They'll never go for an 'Everybody on one day' approach, so why not take the current way things are done, and improve it, and make it more fair?

    Here is fantasy political booking if you will:

    Have 4 primaries. The states rotate each primary season, to allow different states to get the 'honor' of being first in line, and thus getting that 'personal touch' from the candidates as Jack discussed.

    (1 Primary a week fro 4 weeks, let's keep it all in one month here)

    PRIMARY 1: 4 States

    PRIMARY 2: 6 States (no doubt a name will be giving to it, the Friday Six pack™, I can see the lower third banners on CNN now! It's all yours lol)

    PRIMARY 3: 25 states (Super Tuesday)

    PRIMARY 4: The final 15 states

    I think it's good to have separation, and different dates, it does keep people interested, whose in, whose dropping out. The problem most people seem to be having is that certain states always get that influential TOP SPOT on the calendar.

    Rotating the states each primary season means new states will get a chance at being the influence.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  306. Marta K

    Boy do we EVER need a new primary and election system. As it stands now, it it is so inherently flawed that the people really are NOT being heard and are really NOT electing their officials. Primary Day should be same day nationwide (would cut down on all the politicking for months and amounts of money required), NO "super delegates" andall delegates should be "winner take all" and we need a popular vote system, with paper ballots that get COUNTED and VERIFIED.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  307. Dan

    The current system is designed for a country with communication by pony express. I would:
    1. Do away with the two party system that pushes their own agenda on the people
    2. Do away with mega candidates by banning special interest group donations, sponsorships, etc
    3. Go to a two part voting process where the entire nation votes to narrow the field of candidates and then in a second vote, the entire nation votes on the President

    February 5, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  308. Babs

    The above are all excellent ideas: One national primary day in April, vote for a candidate without having to declare a party, and tally the popular vote. Why aren't the candidates asking us this?!

    February 5, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  309. Roger in Texas

    I don't think most people realise why our system is setup the way it is. If you had all primaries on the same day and the election based on popular vote, the largest 11-12 states would be deciding for the rest of the country.
    To be honest, I would rather Iowa and New Hampshire have an early voice than to rely on New York, Texas and California (No offense, but you'all tend to be a little too far left and right).
    Let the small states have their say. No one listens to them after the election.
    Besides, the media did more to weed out the canidates than Iowa and New Hampshire. There is too much 'analyzing the results' and not enough reporting on the results.

    February 5, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  310. Christopher Trainor

    Dear Jack,

    I propose that the Constitution be amended. Let us do away with the Electoral College, and create federal election standards. This will help to prevent debacles like the 2000 Presidential election and curtail the power that the two party system has in this country. Two parties being only one more than the former Soviet Union had. Instead, let the United States of America, not only preach, but practice true and direct democracy.


    Christopher Trainor
    Delran, NJ

    February 5, 2008 at 6:40 pm |