A professor at the University of New Hampshire has an interesting op-ed in today’s WaPo about the New Hampshire Primary and the recent shift of the primary schedule by the Democrats. A lot of attention has been focused on the racial/diversity issue, which was the argument that the DNC used to move up Nevada. But the point that I found interesting was this:
But unlike Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, New Hampshire has a strong, broad-based economy with a significant concentration of high-tech companies and global exporters. In many respects its economy represents the nation’s (hoped-for) economic future. It’s a very good place for candidates to test out economic ideas and principles and to learn from workers and entrepreneurs.
In the past quarter-century, New Hampshire’s economy has been transformed. Its economic base has changed from traditional manufacturing to concentration in high technology and skilled professional services. It has improved in rank among the states in per capita income from 25th to sixth. It has been the strongest economic performer in New England, with the region’s fastest growth rates in employment, gross state product and exports. New Hampshire consistently has among the lowest rates of unemployment and poverty.
This is in contrast with Nevada, whose caucuses are dominated by the hotel workers union, according to Hotline’s Chuck Todd:
[Edwards] close ties to the hotel labor workers give him an interesting leg up in Nevada.
Consider the first three states in the Democratic schedule: two are caucuses (Iowa and Nevada) whose very nature favors liberals (Nevada also proved how liberal its primary electorate is in their most recent primary for governor) …
Rants against New Hampshire aside, there seems to be one giant unintended consequence of this early primary calendar jiggering: shifting the Democratic primary balance of power to the left.
As for electability, Edwards should be considered too liberal to win a general.
In other words, the new schedule emphasizes the low-skilled service workers at the expense of high-skilled aspirational information workers. And it favors economic populists over candidaes more in touch with aspirational voters.