What is the primary calendar?

I know it has to do with the national conventions, and that states prefer to pick an early date on the "primary calendar". What exactly is it?

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  • Tmess2
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    In the U.S., the major political parties nominate their presidential candidate by a convention of delegates picked at the state level.

    Under this system, the state parties get to decide the process for selecting delegates. The state parties can use their own convention system or they can use a state-run primary or a combination of the two. Because most states now use a primary (with some notable exceptions like Iowa), the schedule of these nomination contests tends to referred to as the "primary calendar."

    The tension in the system is that the national parties want to control the primary calendar. They want to set the date of the first contest, they want a logical progression in the calendar, and they need to set a date by which delegate selection is concluded (to make sure that the convention runs in an orderly fashion). However, for states that use a primary, the primary date is set by the state legislature. The states would rather go earlier in the process because there is a feeling that the primary process normally wraps up after the first 20-30 states have voted (mostly a money issue rather than one candidate having clinched the nomination).

    The current plan of the two parties for the 2016 primary calendar is to let Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina hold their nomination contests in February with the remaining states required to hold their primaries between the first Tuesday in March and the first Tuesday in June (with the Republicans pushing for an earlier end date). The parties are trying to enforce this schedule with penalty provisions (reduction in the size of the delegation -- and thus votes at the convention) designed to make any unauthorized state that jumps into February practically irrelevant.

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