Every campaign is shaped by two scarcities — the candidate's time and money. No candidate will have enough of either to campaign intensely, in person or even on television, in perhaps 24 states across the continent in the 22 days from Iowa (Jan. 14) to Feb. 5. As political analyst Charlie Cook says, this will raise the stakes — the free media attention and the momentum it imparts — that will accrue to the winner or winners of the first four states (South Carolina Democrats and Republicans vote on Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, respectively). Indeed, if one person wins three or all four of those, the Feb. 5 primaries might be mere ratifying echoes rather than deciding events.
See previous post about two better ideas for the primary system.