Today the primaries are FINALLY over! By 11PM tonight, we'll have a presumptive nominee, and the Democratic party can begin focusing on November.
I vividly remember walking in the slush on a chilly night outside a bar in Manchester NH nearly five months ago, waiting for Dennis Kucinich to show up as the primary results started coming in.
Today it's 80 degrees and I'm wearing shorts and no shoes, and I can't help but be astonished that it took this long for the process to work it's way through. There's no way that even one person up in Manchester that night had imagined we would have such a long and thrilling primary season. I'm already feeling nostalgia.
In early February just two days before our own primary, I attended the McCain rally in Fairfield. Small, flashy, loaded with generally OK people, except for the crowd on the stage.
Then, the next day, I was at the huge Barack Obama rally in Hartford. This was a truly historic event, and it was good to see Sen. Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama and getting a warm reaction from the crowd. It felt like a rock concert, and often I couldn't hear everything being said because of the enthusiastic crowd.
This year's primary season has been historic and unforgettable. I know that twenty years from now, I'm going to still be talking about "that amazing primary year of aught-eight" (although I probably won't have a good explanation for sounding like a gold-rush miner).
My website has gotten nearly 100,000 hits due SOLELY to the primaries, because my primary schedule page was the top search result on Google for "primary schedule" for several months. January alone saw around 50,000 visits; much higher than my usual monthly 5-10,000 hits.
It's been fun keeping track of the unique issues associated with all the weird turns and surprises that came up. I'm going to miss updating that portion of my blog with results and observations, along with my little map displaying the states that were holding their primaries.
But now we also need to concentrate on something else.
We need to FIX this broken process, and get to it immediately!
We need to eliminate "front-loading" of the primaries by getting our DNC reps to approve a workable solution to the mess, such as splitting the nation into four regions and having regional primaries on a rotating basis.
Imagine how great it would be to have 12 or 13 states each month, 3 or 4 each week, holding primaries. Plus, the candidates will have a much easier time meeting and being seen by the people by spending one month in the northeast, one in the south, etc., rather than the current wasteful criss-crossing of the nation.
We need to eliminate "super" anythings. Super delegates who aren't bound by their state's voters, and "Super Tuesday" where 22 states all have their primary on the same day. Enough with the "super" stuff. Fix it.
Oh, and one more good thing about the primaries being over:
McCain's "free ride" has run out of gas. Now the media can start hammering on him for a change!