The days of New Hampshire/Iowa leading the way on elections is bound to soon come to an end.
Today, every state seems to be frontloading their primary to challenge New Hampshire and Iowa's "First in the nation" elections. California moved theirs up. Florida and Nevada are doing the same. I expect this to continue until all primaries are on the same day, probably in 2012. I do not want that to happen, since it eliminates regional influences. It favors coronations and eliminates the purpose of primary elections that happened years ago. The quick primaries fail to test how strong candidates really are, and limit the ability of a darkhorse candidate to win. It also creates a 8 month "dead period" where the two projected nominees beat up each other.
Instead of the frontloading, I'd like to see a Regional Primary cycle similar to this. One region for 1st week of February. Another region has an election every two weeks. The drawbacks are larger states overshadowing smaller states, but there are enough difference within the states and regions to make things interesting with delegates). Candidates have shorter trips as well within the area near the primaries. Less time on the plane/bus to meet candidates.
I divided things up into 10 regions. Under my plan, they would rotate each election year. If the Upper Midwest goes first one year, they go last the next. If the Upper Midwest goes 2nd one year, they go first the next. If they go third one year, they go 2nd the next, etc. Random drawing would occur for the 1st lineup, and it cycles the rest.
These are the regions I proposed. I tried to keep state balance and relatively equal strength as much as I could. I think set up would strongly benefit candidates from different regions.
Northeast - Maine, Vermont, New Hampsire, Massachusetts, Connecticutt, Rhode Island - 6
Mid Atlantic - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware - 4 (10)
Mid South - Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, DC, South Carolina - 5 (15)
Deep South/Florida - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida - 5 (20)
Appalachia/Ozarks - West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma - 5 (25)
Southwest/Texas - Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada - 4 (29)
Pacific - California, Oregon, Washington St, Alaska, Hawaii (34)
Upper Rockies - Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming - 5 (39)
Upper Midwest - North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio - 6 (45)
Lower Midwest - Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana - 6 (51 - counting DC as a state)
This could possibly draw out the primary. If things are close in some of the states in the early regions, we may have a real primary again, and one lasting longer than before. With 5-6 states going at once, we have simultainious results. Candidate A could win 2 states, B win 2 states, and C win 1 state. That dillutes a coronation attempt. The candidates would be tested, and ready for the general election.
I don't expect this to happen, but you never know.