Klobuchar offers a way to end the primary arms race.
A few attentive U.S. senators are finally paying heed to the nation's chief election administrators -- and the unhappy American public -- about presidential primaries and caucuses that come too soon.
We're pleased that those attentive lawmakers include Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Along with independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Klobuchar last week introduced legislation that would establish a rotating schedule of four regional primaries and caucuses every presidential election year, one each month from March through June. If enacted, it would go into effect for the 2012 presidential race.
The legislation is closely modeled after a plan advanced more than seven years ago by the National Association of Secretaries of State -- the people who run America's elections. They are keenly aware that the states' race to the front of the political calendar isn't healthy for democracy.
Next winter, 33 states, including the most populous ones, will conduct primaries or caucuses before March 1. That means that the presidential nominations will likely be settled more than eight months before the November election.
The early start and the bunching of at least 18 states' primaries and caucuses -- including Minnesota's -- on Feb. 5 forces candidates to amass large sums of money this year, and eliminates those who can't. It allows less time for citizens to examine the candidates, or for the candidates to test each other's mettle in debates. It also gives some states a degree of influence over the selection that's disproportionate to their population.
Complaining about the presidential calendar won't change it. Klobuchar's bill would. Instead of complaining, Americans should tell their representatives that they want her bill to become law.