I recently received the final volume of the Proceedings of ICM 2006. It’s on my work desk, open at the discussion of Grigory Perelman’s work on the Poincare conjecture. It’s very nice to be able to peruse it at work and very different to my work.
After my recent blog post on the U.S. Presidential primary calendar, I was very interested to read an article in this week’s Economist on Republicans in South Carolina moving their primary date earlier, potentially leading New Hampshire to move its primary earlier (apparently by state law, its primary has to be earlier than other states’) and possibly causing Iowa to move its caucuses earlier to 2007 (which its Governor doesn’t agree with).
According to a graphic in the Economist’s story, a number of states or state parties are considering moving their primaries forward. If the states agreed amongst themselves, a more organised primary calendar could be agreed to that didn’t systematically advantage or disadvantage any state. Read the rest of this entry »
I enjoyed an interview with Peter Beinart, the editor of the New Republic, on Lateline last Friday and read an edited extract from his book The Good Fight: Why Liberals and Only Liberals Can Win the War on Terror in this weekend’s The Australian with interest.
The extract crystallised my concerns with U.S. exceptionalism – I recommend it as a good read for people holding any political viewpoint.
The bbc has a timeline of the events leading up to the credit crunch at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6945672.stm
Many people have commented in the last few years on the apparent oddness of the situation that voters in two small U.S. States, New Hampshire and Iowa, have had a seemingly disproportionate influence on the U.S. Presidential primaries compared to much more populous states.
Recently, some states (e.g. California) have wanted to have a greater impact on the results of the Presidential primaries by moving the dates of their primary elections closer to the start of the year. The date of each State’s primary is determined (I think) by state legislation, and here is the current calendar of state primaries.
Many states will have held their primaries by Tuesday 5 February 2008, barely 9 months before the actual election – and by the end of that day a cumulative majority of delegates to both the Republican Party’s and Democratic Party’s conventions will have been elected. By the end of Tuesday 4 March 2008, 83.6% of delegates to the Democratic Party convention and 76.4% of delegates to the Republican Party convention will have been elected (source), by which time the it seems quite likely the Presidential Democratic and Republican candidates will be known.
I can understand each U.S. state wanting to have a greater impact on the course of the Presidential nomination. But the cumulative effect of each state moving the date of its primary earlier in the year is that the primary elections may end up being held a very long time before the election proper and the states may compete with each other to have earlier and earlier primaries. It is conceivable that a state could move its primary to the year before the election (this was discussed in a recent edition of the Economist). A question then arises as to when it is desirable to hold the primaries and what format the primaries take. Read the rest of this entry »