There's much talk in the media about the compressed primary season. What used to go from February to June now goes from January to February, with minimal contests left in March, April, May and June. (Primary Schedule provided by Washington Post.
) In such a compressed season, in order for your state to be influential in the election, it pays to be first. Iowa's caucus is first by tradition. New Hampshire's primary is first by state law. A lot of campaign money and face time go into these states.
On January 15, Michigan holds the next Primary. It was an attempt to get Canidates to pay attention to a state whose economy has ranked in the bottom five of the nation the past couple of years -- we currently have the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
However, this bid has been thwarted. According to both the National Democractic Party and the National Republican Party, Michigan's state parties are violating the rules of the primary season by moving their election up. The National Democratic party took away Michigan's delegates, and the majority of the canidates have pulled out (and since the printing of the ballot others have dropped out) leaving the ballot looking like this: Hillary Clinton v. Undecided. Voting for Obama or Edwards as write-in canidates will invalidate your ballot, as they are not registered as write-in canidates. Futhermore, all the candiates have agreed not to campaign in Michigan. On the Republican side, the National party has halved the number of delegates granted to Michigan, but otherwise the contest remains unchanged (though it seems that some candiates have chosen to make appearances in MI and then move on to SC.)
Some believe that this represents an undemocratic election
on the Democratic side. The Republicans are hoping to get more ballots cast in their favor because of their presence in the state as well as their wider variety of candiates. It's an interesting primary.
I think the editorial under the following cut (running today in The Grand Rapids Press) says it better than I do. I suggest reading it -- they endorse Romney in the Michigan Republican Primary, and refuse to endorse anyone in the Democratic primary. ( Press editorial board endorses Romney by Grand Rapids Press Editorial BoardCollapse )