One Great Idea

There was a great piece in yesterday's New York Times business section on a study of early voting states in the presidential primary season.

It made a case I've been arguing for years that Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the nation and that candidates' efforts to win those states skew the national debate.

It's based on a study by two economists who argue that over-attention to these two states hurts the ultimate debate about policy and especially hurts urban areas by taking attention away from urban issues.

Neither state has a large city, and the next two primary states -- Nevada and South Carolina -- don't either.

Iowa and New Hampshire, the study notes, are growing slower than other states, have older populations and have residents more likely to have health insurance. Neither are plagued with the kinds of problems of urban areas such as crumbling infrastructure, aging transit systems and troubled schools.

This creates a presidental debate tone that one conservartive-leaning Harvard economist calls an "anti-urban policy bias."

In the past, I've written that the country and the presidential selection process would be better served if mutilple states representing various regions voted on the same day and that the states and regions be rotated from election to election.

The piece is full of data supporting such a switch, one that, in my view, would improve our democratic process.

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