George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Nom⁠i⁠na⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ons ⁠i⁠n ⁠t⁠he Sunsh⁠i⁠ne! Make Flor⁠i⁠da F⁠i⁠rs⁠t⁠ ⁠t⁠o Vo⁠t⁠e ⁠i⁠n 2024

By: Dr. J. Robert McClure / 2020

By Robert McClure
Monday, 10 February 2020 10:12 AM

Last Monday night’s Iowa caucus debacle has taught us many things. The limits of bureaucratic processes and the ineffectiveness of government to solve just about anything are two. But above all else it has solidified an indisputable fact: there must be a better way to kick-off something as critical as our presidential election cycle.

I really don’t know why Iowa won the lottery to have the first nominee selection contest, and most voters have no idea why a caucus even exists. This week’s Hawkeye Havoc has undermined everyone’s sense of security in the results, the voting process, and in representative democracy itself.

So what is the solution? Is there a better way to skin this cat (shuck this corn)? Quite possibly.

Here’s a novel idea: Starting in 2024, let’s hold the first election contest in Florida. Everyone else is moving here (900 new residents a day), so why not move the first stop in the presidential race to Florida, too?

Florida has everything you could possibly need. Not only are people moving to Florida in droves, Florida is truly a microcosm of our nation. We are one of the most diverse states in the U.S. — more than 200 languages are spoken in our schools and our citizenry reflects the nation as a whole.

Florida’s $1 trillion economy is the 17th largest in the world. The state has a deep and growing bench of economic interests and industries reflecting key sectors in the global economy. Our high-tech manufacturing base is booming. We realize more investment capital than 46 other states. Our seaports take in billions of dollars’ worth of goods from every corner of the globe.

One more reason Florida should be the first stop in the national election cycle can be summed up in two words: hanging chad.

That’s right. I said it. Florida has survived and thrived after one of the most challenging election issues in our nation’s history, the 2000 presidential recount, and we are better off for it.

Florida has since upgraded its voting machines and modernized its system — with $19.2 million in federal election security money, just last year alone. We know how to handle an election that has not gone as expected. We know how to navigate uncharted waters. We are tried, tested and true.

Think back to last week, before the Iowa caucuses, there were articles circulating in the news, “What is a caucus? How are results tabulated? How does it work?” No one except political insiders even understand the ins and outs of how a caucus works. Iowa holds its place in the election cycle only because of a tradition whose time has come and gone. No more.

Whether we begin in Florida or another fine state, citizens need to be able to trust that elections are conducted fairly and reported accurately. Let’s make our democracy as transparent and as open as possible. Time to bring this process into the sun, by starting this race in the Sunshine State.

Dr. Robert McClure provides expert perspective on current issues facing our nation and his home state of Florida, the third-largest state in the nation and a policy bellwether for the country. Recently named one of the Most Influential People in Florida Politics, Dr. McClure serves as the President and CEO of The James Madison Institute, Florida’s premier free-market think tank. He is a frequent commentator on television and talk radio programs and has lectured nationally on diverse policy issues. Dr. McClure has been published numerous times at both the state and national level on topics including property rights, tax policy, health care, and education reform. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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