With only a little over a month left until the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary and seeing as I've yet to shut up about how I'm from NH yet this semester, I thought I'd keep with the trend and relate my favorite political event to Texas politics.
Being a loyal Granite Stater and as big a fan of Bill Gardner as the next one, I would never propose a state try to move in front of NH in the nominating process, but living the better part of the last 7 years outside of NH has gotten me to thinking, maybe the world doesn't revolve around it and maybe other states ought to get a little more excited about primaries. Texas has a primary in March right now (see irrelevant). Just guessing but I would expect turnout somewhere around 10-20% give or take. When I cast my vote in 2004 I think the turnout was 80-90% on a day with a high of 20 degrees. People know when they matter and that's why New Hampshirites always make it out to vote. Seeing the disinterest in the process when all they're doing is rubber-stamping a nominee makes me think Texas ought to try and have an early primary and get more candidates to come here.
Right now the candidates do all come to Texas, to be fair, but they're not kissing babies or having town-hall meetings. They're flying into Houston and Dallas for $2300 a plate fundraisers and using the proceeds to tell Iowans how much they love their corn on TV. I think it'd be a little fairer if they let us ask them some questions and participate in the vetting process. I mean I'm not the biggest Texas pride guy there is, but this is the 2nd largest state in the union by either measure and you'd think that'd be good for some input in the presidential nominating process.
I wasn't wild about the idea of other states moving up but since they did and I don't live in IA or NH right now, I kind of like the idea of doing something more binding than slapping a bumper sticker on my car. I'd like to go out and cast a vote and have the feeling of not knowing who'll win until the news does results that night. The kind of excitement that everyone gets wrapped up in and follows and participates in like a football season or something. The difference is that people are getting excited about government and more people are participating in it. That's the goal. I think that kind of excitement of an important, binding election where your choices are more than A vs. B might be just the thing to cure some of the apathy here in Texas. It's the reason this average 24 year-old watches MSNBC like it's the superbowl everytime there's an election.