As we head down the path of choosing our President for the next four years, with incumbent Barrack Obama a shoo-in for the Democrats and Republicans still looking for their “player to be named later,” I must admit to feeling a bit disconnected.
We are a nation 311 million strong, yet the political pundits and media talking heads would have us believe that wins in early caucus and primary states like Iowa (population 3 million), New Hampshire (population 1.3 million), South Carolina (population 4.7 million), and Florida (population 19 million) should have all but sewn up the Republican nomination. Of course, that didn’t happen, not with a split of those early races between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, and then Santorum’s surprising trifecta of primary wins in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado on February 7. (So much for conventional wisdom!)
Regardless, I can’t help but feel a bit put off by the whole candidate selection process (and I don’t mean to pick on the Republicans, it’s just that with an incumbent in office the Democrat’s process this time around is more about “going through the motions” than anything else).
Think about it, nowadays parties routinely pick their nominee almost as soon as the process gets underway! Where’s the sense in that? It’s like picking a marathon winner based on a runner’s first 30 seconds out of the blocks, or like having Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas dictate style to Los Angeles or New York.
So I can’t say I am disappointed that Super Tuesday is fast approaching and Republicans still don’t have a clear favorite. At least that makes the primaries more interesting for us residents of Western states. Ordinarily, the political soothsayers would have us believe that by the time the campaigns arrived on our doorsteps, the selection process would be all but over. Not this year. Seems like our voices will matter this time around—and that’s a good thing! Otherwise, it’s a little disappointing to think that for most election cycles, 28 million people (the combined populations of the early East Coast/Midwest caucus and primary states) or about 9% of the US population get to vet and select the nominees for the rest of us. (Last I checked, we are still a nation of 50 states plus the District of Columbia!)
There must be a better way for the primary system to mirror the mix and diversity of our nation. Perhaps we could simply change the order and mix of primary states so that all regions—north to south, east to west, and all points in-between—are represented equally right from the beginning. Or, better yet, why can’t we hold “national” primary day, where voters from both parties and independents go to the polls all at once to pick their candidates, just like the general election? States already do this on a smaller scale when picking gubernatorial candidates—they don’t hold primaries county-by-county over many weeks and months. Such an approach might even cut down on what seems like never-ending campaigning by people in office and those seeking office.
I am all for tradition, but sometimes you need to change with the times. Whistle-stop campaigns, where candidates crisscrossed the country speaking to constituents from the back of trains have become things of the past, giving way to air travel, television, and the Internet. I say it’s time we give the primary system the much-needed reboot it needs. What do you think?
- TOY FAIR, FEBRUARY 12 TO 15 (NEW YORK CITY)—The 110th annual American International Toy Fair® was a lot of fun and right up my alley. I got to meet tons of people, generate lots of leads, and play with lots of neat toys, gadgets, and gizmos. The Toy Fair brings together more than 1,000 manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents from around the world to showcase toy and entertainment products each year. You name it, it’s there—everything from action figures and dolls, games and puzzles, computer software, video games, and sporting equipment, to holiday toys and costumes, earth-friendly products, bicycles, tricycles, radio-controlled vehicles, and infant and preschool toys. By the time the Fair ended, I was worn out. Guess you need to be a kid to play so hard for so long! One of my highlights was meeting TV’s Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters fame, who will soon be stepping away from the show to chase other ventures. Got my picture snapped with him and we enjoyed a great, down-to-earth conversation. www.toyassociation.org/
- BoM LAUNCHES WEB SITE & NEW SERVICES—Barrel O’Monkeyz has released a line of new packaged services designed to meet the needs of today’s small and growing businesses. BOM’s launch also included sponsorship at local business events, such as “Dream Big” in Culver City, and promotion at tradeshows like “Outdoor Retailer” in Salt Lake City, “CES” in Las Vegas, and the “American International Toy Fair” in New York City. Be sure to check out the Web site (and the whole BoM team) at: www.barrelomonkeyz.com.