What if we held a primary and nobody came?

The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee voted last weekend to hold caucuses in Iowa and Nevada, followed by primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, before other states would be permitted to begin the selection of delegates on February 5, 2008.. That means that the New Jersey presidential primary — moved up to February 26, 2008 to assure some ability for Garden State voters to influence the nomination process — could wind up being irrelevant anyway. If the national Democrats have their way, New Jersey will be in the fourth week of post New Hampshire/South Carolina primaries, and six weeks after Iowa. In the last two presidential campaigns, the race ended not long after Iowa. Richard Gephardt dropped out on January 20, Joseph Lieberman on February 4, (after losing badly in New Hampshire on January 27), Wesley Clark (he won only in Oklahoma on February 3) on February 11, and Howard Dean on February 20 (three days after losing his fifteenth primary and caucus). Only John Edwards made it to March 3 — Super Tuesday — though his campaign had collapsed the week before with losses in Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2000, Democrat Bill Bradley and Republican John McCain, the two principal competitors to Albert Gore and George W. Bush, respectively, withdrew on March 9 — 45 days after Iowa. the 2000 campaign of Steve Forbes lasted only sixteen days. New Jersey political insiders, especially the dyed-in-the-wool junkies, have been pushing for an early primary for years. It would be a cruel joke indeed if New Jersey went through the trouble and expense of moving their primary up fifteen weeks and then found that the state was to continue a traditional of national irrelevance The idea of an early primary made sense if New Jersey wants to play a greater role in nominating a presidential candidate instead of just financing one. In his 2005 State of the State Address, then Governor Richard Codey said: “I am tired of watching small states like Iowa and New Hampshire pick our presidential candidates.” Now Codey, the Senate President, and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, must decide if they will move up the New Jersey primary by a few weeks. Surely Governor Jon Corzine will have something to say about that: it is no secret that Corzine harbors some fairly intense national ambitions, and he might not want to have his home state pick sides early if he hopes to emerge as a Vice Presidential candidate that summer.

What if we held a primary and nobody came?