In favor of longer seasons
I agree with Eric:
Having a Democrat wrap up the nomination in the beginning of process prevents people form taking a good hard look at his flaws before deciding who to choose, and increases the likelihood of buyer’s remorse—a la Dukakis. It also takes the Democrats and their framing of the issues out of the news. This primary season has done nothing but good for the party and for the nation’s debate. The longer it goes on, the longer the Bush team will be incapable of defining things the way they want them defined. (By the September convention, it will be Kerry who deserted his National Guard post.) [...]
I have been arguing for a long time that an extended primary season could be a good thing for the Democrats. The idea behind the compressed schedule appears to be that, if there is little time for fighting, the rancor of the process won't spoil the nomination at the end (ala 68, 72, and 80). I think this is a fundamentally naive approach. First of all, if people really want to fight with each other they will fight with each other regardless of whether the campaign last six weeks or six months. Furthermore, the bad blood of those elections are more a result of the immature personalities involved then the length of the political season. There is no on in the fight this primary season who would pull the kind of crap Kennedy did in 1980 when he declined to shake Carter's hand on the podium of the convention.
And the comment about the extended primary season providing good press for the anti-Bush argument has been repeated by many others. Hesiod has been arguing this for a LONG time.