March 04, 2005

Richardson Pushes Western Primary

This is a wonderful idea: band together the Western states to hold their presidential primaries the same day, early in the 2008 season. Gov. Richardson of New Mexico suggested it, but I wish I'd thought of it. It's a great way to bring the issues of the West to the forefront, including property, taxes and so forth.

Remember, the estate tax (last I heard) is scheduled to come back full-force in 2011. The next President will be in office when that happens, and if it hasn't been fixed by 2007 then this will be an issue in the presidential race. The Western take on it is especially against the estate tax, since ranchers and small businesses in the West might have on-paper enormous assets but actually see quite mild profits from year to year. A cattle rancher might own a couple million dollars of land and cows but only turn a $50,000 annual profit (purely a hypothetical). That makes the estate tax onerous and tyrannical, because our hypothetical hard-working rancher is forced to sell off a portion of the ranch, his livelihood, in order to pay the tax.

An east coast conception of wealth, which excludes the Western rancher or Midwestern small businessman, is a cruel way to implement the estate tax. So if it's not eliminated before the 2008 season, you'd see a Western primary having a big opinion on the subject.

Other issues could also be of importance, like energy, environmentalism, private property, sensible government, general tax cuts, etc. It would also serve to counterbalance the South, which functions to bring more socially conservative campaigns. A Western influence would bring more fiscally libertarian campaigns, and that's a great thing.

The Western Governors' Association includes all of the Western US, if you draw a line from North Dakota to Texas and then exclude Oklahoma. It includes California, Hawaii, Alaska, NMIs, American Samoa and Guam. The other states are of course Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Arizona. California and Texas might unhinge the whole idea, since those two states are the two largest in the union.

Getting together all the other states for a big primary some time in early March or even late February would be a boon to their issues. I really hope it comes to pass, because we need to hear more on Western-oriented issues.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ed said...

Having them all on the same day kills the advantage of the primary. Right now candidates can do serious grassroots campaigning (in certain special states, that is).

Richardson is probably proposing an intentionally extreme idea because he knows it would never happen, but he still gains street cred in the West.

A REALLY BOLD proposal would be a lottery to see which order the states have their primaries.

March 05, 2005 12:19 AM  
Blogger Kari Chisholm said...

We're talking about this Western Primary concept quite a bit over at WesternDemocrat.com. Come on over and join us.

March 12, 2005 12:16 PM  

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