No, we are not moving our primary

It’s the best kind of legislative story for the media: easy to encapsulate, kicks up some dust, and isn’t going anywhere. Makes a great filler story, and lends the appearance of serious journalism without the difficulty.

In this case, I’m talking about Sen. Anthony Pollina’s proposal to move Vermont’s presidential primary to the same day as New Hampshire’s.

Lots of states have tried to do this, and it never amounts to a hill of beans. And it won’t here either, even if the idea had broad support in our legislature. Which it doesn’t.

Beyond the virtual certainty that this bill will die a quick death in committee, there are two massive obstacles in the way of an early primary.

— New Hampshire state law allows the Secretary of State to move the primary ahead of any other state. If Pollina’s bill became law, all we’d do is start a vicious circle with New Hampshire.

— Primary calendars are subject to approval by the two major parties, and neither is amenable to a change in the traditional opening — Iowa caucuses, then New Hampshire primary.

Doesn’t matter if it makes any sense or not. Iowa and New Hampshire are clearly unrepresentative of the nation as a whole, and their results have been making less and less of a difference in recent campaigns. But their status is cemented in tradition, and nothing’s gonna change. Certainly not on Vermont’s say-so.

Pollina’s bill is a bit of a sideshow, that’s all.

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