Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Early Michigan Primary--Bipartisan Agreement on Renegade Scheduling

Finally, something Michigan Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

National leadership for both parties says there will be a price to pay for this renegade scheduling. And Michigan is one of at least 7 states poised to break the rules. So why have they done it?

In their own words...

From Governor Granholm's press release:
'"An early Michigan primary can lead to greater emphasis on issues that matter to all Americans,' Granholm said. 'We want candidates to talk about how they plan to enforce trade policies that are so critical to our manufacturers, the need for universal access to affordable health care, and how they plan to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil. In short, Michigan voters want to hear how every candidate will confront the issues that are so critical to our state and that he or she will face as president.'"(source)

Our issues are America's issues. We will help shape the debate.

From Senator Bishop:
"As I said last week, an early primary will allow all Michigan voters - not only political insiders - to exert early influence in the presidential nomination process. A primary election, in which all qualified voters can participate, will have much higher turnout - and more legitimacy - than a party caucus or convention." (source)

Greater voter participation is a good thing for the process.

From State Rep. John Proos on August 30:
"Michigan has always been a key state for candidates seeking to win the presidency, and now more than ever we need to highlight the fact that Michigan remains a strong battlefield in the '08 election. By holding an early primary election, candidates will flock to Michigan - bringing with them millions of dollars in campaign expenditures that will boost our economy." (source)

Face it, we're perceived as a swing state, a battleground. We can at least support tourism with an influx of candidates, entourages, and reporters.

Unfortunately, Democratic candidates have pledged not to visit us rule breakers. There is fear of insulting voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. There is an etiquette to this, after all.

New Hampshire goes first because it has a law that says it must. They are legally compelled to be first. New Hampshire goes first as a matter of state pride. It is also a matter of national ritual. Groundhog Day tells us about Spring's arrival and the Macy's Parade on Thanksgiving tells us it's time to shop for the holidays. New Hampshire's primary reminds us that the candidates must ask for our votes and that voters get to evaluate candidates.

Regardless of the timing of Michigan's primary, our pressing issues remain. The potential glitz and glamor of early campaigning won't fix: 2008 budget, ever increasing college tuition, workforce displacement, downward pressure on wages, high unemployment. If the legislature could muster the same bipartisanship over our budget, an early primary will have been worth any loss of delegates.