Paging all political scientists: Get ready to amend those textbooks. Today an article in the Los Angeles Times identified, documented, and named a previously unrecognized phase of the American presidential-election cycle — behold, the presidential pre-pre-primary.
“Big names in politics are rubbing shoulders with big names in Hollywood,” announced the article’s subhead. “The presidential pre-pre-primaries have begun.”
The Times went on to note that various big name politicians from Al Gore to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, to Senator John McCain to Senator John Kerry have recently visited L.A. — a sure sign, according to the Times, that “the West Coast pre-pre-primaries have already begun.”
So what exactly are candidates doing in these pre-pre-primaries? Well, according to the Times, there are no actual candidates. “Granted, none of these politicians has actually announced a run for president in 2008,” noted the Times. “(And a few have flat out said that they’re not running.)”
So what kind of pre-pre-primary events draw politicians to L.A.? According to the Times, Gore happened to be in L.A. to work on a documentary about global warming. McCain came to town to promote his book. And Kerry was visiting California to help oppose a specific proposition initiative on the state ballot.
This may not sound like a novel political phenomenon, but the Times noted — and this is apparently key to understanding the inner workings of the pre-pre-primary — that while in L.A. several of the politicians met with Hollywood fundraisers.
“According to the Center for Responsive Politics,” noted the Times, “more than $5 million in entertainment money has been raised so far for the 2006 election cycle.”
Never mind that there are no presidential elections in 2006. According to the Times, the presidential pre-pre-primary exists independently of voters and candidates. Who needs an actual presidential election to get in the way of groundbreaking reporting?
To judge by the Times’ reporting, all the presidential pre-pre-primary really needs to exist is a political reporter stuck in the slow part of the election cycle looking for a novel spin.