Some cynics around the state capitol think Jindal purposely gutted funding for a primary so he would not have to be on the ballot in his home state. The governor’s popularity has plummeted to an all time low at 27%, with few signs that it will improve before the spring election date. Calling off the election would be a way for Jindal not to be humiliated by Louisiana voters.
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 of presidential delegates is set for January 5th with the holding of the Iowa caucuses. In fact, the national election season kicks off even earlier on August 8th of this year when Iowa holds a non binding straw poll. So why should Louisiana wait until March 5th of next 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 is set for November 31st. 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 $3.5 million. Pretty good chump change for a state that is facing major financial challenges. All major 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 sums 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 next 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, that begins meeting in a few weeks, 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.
We’ve stood by for years and watch our Governor travel the nation in his quixotic quest for national office. Now’s the time to bring Jindal and the nation’s focus back home to the deepest of the deep southern states, where it should have been all along.
“Presidential primary debates are an important part of our political process. But the media has wrested complete control from the parties and candidates over everything, including the number, the format, the qualifications, and the moderators. And they've become a circus.”
Peace and Justice
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 hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.