Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Place through primaries

Maggie says:
Soaking in the "Potomac Primary" returns last night, it occurred to me how much I've enjoyed following the Democratic and Republican races this year. Before you offer a resounding, "Duh!," I'll add this: beyond the dramatic horserace aspect of the fight to the finish, it's the journey through the states that's brought me back to my love of campaigns.

When the new year began, I speculated on the natures of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and how much I enjoy seeing those play out every election year in the kick-offs. My caveat at the time was that I thought this would be the last year we'd get to revel in the hokiness of "first" states in the same way. So imagine my delight that since then, we've gotten to revel in every state's hokiness as the parties select their candidates. It's so fun for me to dig into all these state's histories, leanings, tendencies, populations, weirdness, current events, and turnout... with the results as the cherry on top!

The opportunity for me as a political junkie pales in significance, of course, to the opportunity for the candidates to have their voices heard in a variety of states, and the opportunity for the voters in those states to have their voices heard with their votes. It's been a hugely significant political year in every way possible, not least of which is that our abnormally long decision-making process this year is offering us a glimpse of a more equitable way forward for all states the next time we do this.

I'm looking forward to a system that allows more of us to say more as the standard, not the accident. And in the meantime, my results-watching self is happy as can be Blue Highway-ing my way through each primary, sinking in to tiny town stories, state slogans, and demographic shifts.

PS: Blue Highways is an old favorite read. For a rather ancient - September 2000! - book review I wrote, go here.