Exactly 1,357 delegates will be up for grabs today on Super Tuesday, the closest thing the U.S. has to a national primary, with 14 states—and American Samoa—casting their votes. That raises the question: Why don’t we have a national primary, where everyone votes on the same day? That idea, and numerous others, have been floated over the years as solutions to what many voters and even party insiders view as an outdated, blunder-prone presidential primary system.
The presidential primary system in place developed organically and randomly, without any real intent or purpose. It puts rural states at the top of the calendar, and those early states are not demographically representative of the Democratic Party, or of America in general: About 90% of Iowa and New Hampshire are white, and only 3.4% of Iowans are black. And a study has shown that voters in those two states exercise 5 times more power than all others. But calendar shake-ups—such as allowing more urban states to vote first, or rotating the states that vote first—have long been opposed, as are such other proposals as rank-choice voting and making election days holidays.
In the video below, we outline some of the suggestions that are gaining steam lately—particularly after the Iowa caucus catastrophe—for reforming the primaries. One sweeping idea, which comes from within the Democratic Party, is seen by many leaders as a necessary overhaul, for the good of the system—but some voters will understandably find it troublingly undemocratic.