Monday, June 02, 2008

Will West Virginia Be The First Democratic Primary Next Election?

Maybe not West Virginia, but some other state with relatively few delegates at stake. Why? Non-credible threats and cost-benefit analysis following from the Michigan-Florida decision. The outcome seems to be that Michigan and Florida will essentially get to count for half of what they previously were worth. If the Democrats do not change their rules for how delegates are counted when the state violates their approved election date before their next primary, consider the cost-benefit analysis for states that consider going early:
  1. Benefit: Economic/Political benefit of being early or even first, which states seem to value regardless of whether or not it actually exists. Why else do states try and go first if there is no benefit? The first states do seem to filter the field pretty quickly.
  2. Cost: Lose half your delegates, hence some of your influence in who the democratic candidate will be.
The MI-FL agreement has established that #2 is not lose ALL your delegates, but they each get a half-vote. My initial intuition is that small states that are not particularly large to begin with, it is likely that #1>#2. However, I could see larger states sending a stronger signal even if their votes are not counted, so maybe they will be even more likely to find #1>#2.


Matt E. Ryan said...

It would be great to get some minutes from the DNC meetings in Michigan and Florida as they weighed the issue of moving. I'd be they looked at it in a very similar manner.

This would be a fun paper idea, but without many states ever moving (right?), I think you'd be stuck with only a few case studies.

Anonymous said...

The Republicans did the same thing as the Democrats, but the consequences were not important since McCain had already clinched.