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May 02, 2014 12:25 PM The Quadropoly Remains

By Ed Kilgore

This bit of news from CNN’s Mark Preston will not, I wager, draw remotely as much attention as a dozen other “invisible primary” items today and over the weekend:

The first votes cast in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination would take place in February 2016, according to a draft proposal under consideration by the Democratic National Committee.
The proposed nominating calendar would have the Iowa caucuses take place on February 1, New Hampshire primary on February 9, Nevada caucuses on February 20 and the South Carolina primary on February 27, according to the proposal provided to CNN by a source, who asked not to be named. All other states would have to wait until March 1 to hold a caucus or primary.

In other words, since Republicans have already taken a similar action, the Iowa/New Hampshire chokehold on the beginnings of the presidential nominating cycle, shrewdly modified a couple of cycles ago to cut one western and one southern state in on the action, will continue, despite the many words regularly spilled about the irrationality if not injustice of the custom.

Why? Because the beneficiaries of this system care more about protecting it than their critics—who could, if they showed some organizational skill and determination, surely overcome them—care about changing it. Indeed, the energies of the nomination process planners will mostly be focused on heading off any challenge to the quadropoly. So as we get closer to 2016, let’s don’t hear any more carping about the amount of time candidates spend tramping around the early states, or their unrepresentative nature. The time for constructive complaining is again coming to a close.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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