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Yossi Gestetner

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Filing Lawsuit On Discrimination Grounds to End Iowa, NH First-in-Nation Status

Posted: 01/04/2012 3:33 pm

No, I have not yet retained an attorney. But yes, it is time to end this "tradition" of Iowa voting first in presidential elections in form of caucuses followed a week later by the New Hampshire primary.

Many pundits like to point out that the winner of Iowa does not always go ahead to win a party's nomination. This is true. However, Iowa -- a state with three million people where minorities are steeply underrepresented compared to the rest of the nation -- does indeed help shape the outcome of the nomination. Tim Pawlenty is gone due to Iowa, and the same is with Michele Bachmann. Then comes New Hampshire, a state with a mere 1.3 million people where minorities are also grossly underrepresented, and the winner of the nomination is predictable from there onward.

This craziness has to stop for two simple reasons:

First, the above two states according to the 2010 Census have a total population of 4.36 million people, which is less than 1.5% of the country's 308 million people. If the big states are ready to be controlled by the small ones, we may as well dissolve the House of Representatives where the bigger states have more representatives (versus the Senate, which is in place to give more power to the smaller states).

Second and more importantly, blacks and Hispanics are a mere 7.9% in Iowa and are a poor 3.9% in New Hampshire, versus 28.9% of the nationwide population. On the flip side, the two states respectively consist 91% and 93% of whites and they get to decide who will be the president of a country where whites are only 72.4% of the population. These differences should be grounds for discrimination and civil rights lawsuits to force the parties to change the system in a way that more states, reflective of the overall population, get to vote on the first day of a presidential campaign.

As far I am concerned, many redistricting maps are adjusted due to minorities being underrepresented by smaller margins than the above stats. Therefore, if political leaders do not have the courage to end the system by simply admitting the silliness of giving for a few hundred thousand people the power over 300-plus million people, then indeed this should be stopped on the grounds of civil rights discrimination. I intend to, God-willing, further review this issue with federal law and civil rights experts.

Yossi Gestetner, a news analyst and advocate in NY's Jewish Community blogs at GestetnerUpdates.com

 
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