Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Electoral hijinks alert!
George Will comments on the upcoming presidential primaries:
Coming immediately after the Jan. 19 Iowa Caucuses and the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary, South Carolina's Feb. 3 primary will the be first time African-American voters - perhaps almost 40 percent of the turnout - will be so important so early in the nominating process. But Delaware, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma also may vote that day, and Michigan votes four days later. The nominee almost certainly will be known no later than the evening of March 2, when California, New York, Maryland and perhaps Ohio will vote.

This is perilous. If such a compressed schedule had existed in 1984, when Gary Hart acquired astonishing momentum by upsetting Walter Mondale in New Hampshire, Hart would have won the nomination before Mondale had time to regroup and grind him down. The potential for volatility among Democrats is suggested by a poll conducted April 10-16 by the Pew Research Center showing that 69 percent of Democrats cannot name any of the nine candidates. Kerry, the most frequently named, is named by just 9 percent of respondents. Nine percent think Al Gore is running.
Decide in haste, repent at leisure.