Monday, March 24, 2008

A Utahn's View On Michigan and Florida


It could be argued that making the decision between primaries and caucuses after the contest begins is unfair to the candidate who is prepared to organize a caucus. However the precedent was established in 2004, 2000, and 1996 that state Democratic Parties get to make that choice, even if their delegate selection plan is late. The scant evidence that one candidate under performs in caucuses is more a media creation than a statistical conclusion, anyway. Furthermore, primaries are a more democratic way to select candidates than caucuses. So we should all be looking forward to new primaries in Michigan and Florida this Spring.

In 2004 the Utah Democratic Party showed Florida and Michigan the way to do it. The three-fourths Republican legislature knew who their candidate would be and canceled Utah’s primary as a mean-spirited stab at the minority. Energetic young Democratic chairman Donald Dunn stepped up to organize a firehouse primary instead.

The Utah Democratic Party borrowed space in public buildings across the state to set up polling places. Mostly it was libraries rather than the traditional firehouses; we Utahns love to read and better fire codes have reduced the need to build firehouses in every community. Radio ads went on the air and there was a statewide media blitz to attract Democrats to the polls. On primary day volunteers across the state spread out to take the pulse of the public.


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