In the first place, it grants relevancy to later-calendar states like Wyoming, North Dakota and Wisconsin, whose choices in these contests have been nearly beside the point in past elections. The more states feel they have a role in choosing the nominee, the more Democrats will be involved in and have ownership of that nominee’s particular political fortunes.
Every primary only drives up Democratic turnout and energy. Democrats already are racking up hundreds of thousands more voters in their intraparty contests than Republicans are, and if we continue to believe our choices matter, we’ll continue to volunteer, donate and care.
Both candidates’ supporters get a chance, through national television to become comfortable with their favorite’s rival. I wasn’t sold on either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton before seeing them both, again and again, giving speeches and campaigning and granting interviews. Now I’d be equally thrilled with either as the nominee.
The benefits aren’t ours alone. A longer primary benefits the candidates as well. Not, perhaps, in terms of their sleep time or stress levels, but in terms of their comfort in front of the lights, on the stages and with the crowds, the increased exposure is invaluable.