The current issue of the Atlantic Monthly has a short article (subscription required) assessing what imapct the earlier schedule of primaries might have on the presidential elections. The specific assertion that caught my eye was that, by shaking out the field earlier, we might better get to know the final candidates (Republican & Democratic) during the general election - and might avoid the mistake of electing an unknown quantity as president, with Bush and Carter cited as examples. The current, counter-veiling argument that I've seen to all this is that the accelerated schedule will favor those candidates who come into the primaries with significant name recognition and a large war chest. I don't have too much to say on this topic, as I haven't yet dug deep into it, beyond wondering whether shaking out the big party candidates earlier might make it easier for a third party or independent candidate to mount a serious run - a la Bloomberg entering the race late, or even the approach Fred Thompson is taking to the Republican nomination? I'm not saying this is a good thing, but as I try to keep up with the chancing dynamics of our elections, I'm still trying to find the bright side... Thoughts? Hopefully more informed than mine?