Early Western primary ahoy!

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Looks like there’s more buzz this week about an early Western primary for the Democrats. The Salt Lake Tribune has the latest, including an incredible introduction:

Every year, Congress tweaks federal law to try to make ethanol more realistic as a fuel for cars.

The grain alcohol consumes more energy to create than it produces. Still, every politician in Washington inexplicably learns the intricacies of the corn-based biofuel.

Ethanol’s mysterious hold on politicians’ psyches can be credited to the Iowa caucuses, the first test for presidential candidates and the source of that Midwestern state’s heavy influence on American politics.

Ethanol was Exhibit A on Friday at the Western Presidential Primary Symposium in Salt Lake City, the evidence of why Utah and its Western neighbors need to band together with their own early presidential selection process. While ethanol is debated ad nauseam, Western issues like preparing for drought, managing public lands, guiding growth and complying with the Endangered Species Act are glossed over.

“When is it you ever knew a presidential candidate’s position on water?” asked New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

That’s absolutely right. Tradition should stand for something, but at the end of the day, our country’s leaders should not be chosen based solely on their knowledge of corn. A Western primary, early in the schedule, will force more candidates to focus on issues important to us Westerners. As growth (itself an issue) continues to skyrocket in parts of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, our prominence on the national scene should increase apace.

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