Friday, April 19, 2024

Jim Brown: Louisiana Should Have Had The First Presidential Primary

by BPT Staff
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    This is a big election week all over America.  Super Tuesday is the name given to the holding of presidential primaries and caucuses  in 15 states and one U.S. territory, all who will hold elections on March 5, 2024.

     Donald Trump is the front-runner in the Republican race, polling in double-digits over his rival former South Carolina Gov. Niki Haley, according to multiple polls.  President Joe Biden is a cinch to win every state on the ballot with big margins. So where is Louisiana and all this mix?

     The Bayou State is scheduled to have its presidential primary on March 23rd.  With so many other states already having their election, Louisiana is irrelevant to the entire process.

     Actually, there is no national requirement that a state has to hold a presidential primary. A few states, including Colorado, Iowa and Nevada hold caucuses where each party conducts regional meetings to discuss and vote on delegates who are pledged to a specific candidate. A similar system was in place in Louisiana for a number of years.

     So how can Louisiana still have a presidential primary without spending any money? Just look at the election cycles. The first selection presidential delegates is set for January 15th with the holding of the Iowa caucuses. In fact, the national election season kicks off even earlier on August 23ed of last year when Iowa held a non-binding straw poll. So why should Louisiana wait until March 5th of this year?

     Louisiana is the only state in the nation to have a statewide election close to the presidential primary elections. The gubernatorial runoff date in Louisiana was held on  November 18th of last year. Why not kick off the presidential election campaign right here in the Bayou State on this election date? Along with the various state and local races, Louisiana should consider including on the ballot the nation’s first presidential primary.

     Since the state is holding its regular election anyway, there will be no additional cost involved to the taxpayers. In fact, there would be the savings of some five million dollars.  Pretty good chump change for a state that is facing major financial challenges. All candidates for president would certainly be expected to flock to Louisiana, spending a good deal of money trying to garner national attention at the state’s first presidential primary. And Louisiana voters would have a chance to highlight Louisiana issues. It would seem to be a win, win for the State.

     Can you imagine the massive sum of money that would be spent in Louisiana, as candidates run major media campaigns with the hopes of building momentum for the early spring round of elections? It would be the nation’s first indication of what voters were thinking, what issues were important, and what candidates were emerging as favorites. Finish sixth in Louisiana, and it undercuts any candidate’s effectiveness in raising campaign dollars and building major support as the next election primaries approach.

     To prevent legal challenges by both national parties, the election would have to be non—binding. Party caucuses could take place later in the spring, at no cost to the state, to select delegates who will attend the national convention this summer. And even though the results would be non—binding, Louisiana would jump from the irrelevancy it is now, to the leader of the pack in selecting the next president.The legislature could alleviate the cost of the required primary and put Louisiana front and center of the national presidential campaign by merely allow candidates for president to appear on this coming November’s election ballot. That’s all it would take.

There is a better way for the Louisiana to get the nation’s attention then just having the highest crime rates and the highest cost of insurance in the country. If the legislature wants to save money and get back in the mix of being relevant on a national political level, a presidential primary at the same time as our gubernatorial elections makes good sense.

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also listen to his weekly podcast at www.datelinelouisiana.com.

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