Walter Shapiro is one of the best political writers around, and he’s made a defense of “first in the nation” for New Hampshire’s primary. (HT: Instapundit)
I am going to file an amicus brief on Shapiro’s side. Traditions matter in a republic, and even though New Hampshire’s early primary is relatively new in the life of American politics, it is a tradition against which new data can be measured, and a valuable context for judging future primary battles. Shapiro makes some very important arguments as well, but one more is that the country’s electorate understands what goes on in New Hampshire and doesn’t need results interpreted (even though a ton of interpretations are inevitable.) Jump another state to the head of the line, and we will lose the utility of comparisons to McCarthy in ’68, Buchanan and Clinton in ’92, McCain in 2000 etc.