The California primary is over, along with the rest of not-so-super Tuesday. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and President Bush need no longer pretend there's still a race on the Democratic side.
Now, let's get rid of the California primary. Not the whole thing, but the wretched March primary for state and local offices that leaves Californians with an eight-month general election campaign. It may be bearable for a presidential race, but for state and local offices it's absurd. Even potential city council candidates have to decide the year before if they are going to run. After a primary win they face months of invisibility -- and then, around September, have to remind voters what happened back in March.
Return the state primary to June, the month it was held from World War II days to 1996. The current primary mess was created eight years ago when legislators decided that an earlier presidential primary would give the state clout in picking presidential candidates. The strategy never worked. California switched from June to late March. A batch of other states moved their primaries to early March. Then California did too, but it still didn't have the effect party officials sought. Look at this year's contest: Even with a spirited, multi-candidate Democratic presidential race, the outcome held barely a doubt well before Tuesday.