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Monday, January 2, 2012

A Caucus? A Primary? A Mess?

Sweet Wifey (she is so very sweet) has been lamenting the Iowa Caucus and the primary system in general. Indeed it seems that by the time the vote rolls around to us Tennessee folks, our candidate has already fallen by the wayside or has already been chosen for us by the political establishment and/or the news media. She has advocated a single big nationwide primary where everyone votes for their primary candidate at the same time. But what if this were the case? What of there were say 10 different primary contenders? The victor might come away with perhaps 15 percent of the vote. 85 percent of the people would be mad.

How would the candidates campaign for such a giant primary? Under the present system the candidate has to actually go to that particular state. They have to spend time and money there. They have to put boots on the ground. They have to meet and talk to many many people. In the process they get an awful lot of press coverage. With Iowa or New Hampshire, even us "outsiders" who choose to pay attention, are able to learn a lot about each individual person. With a giant nationwide primary I'm afraid the candidates would not go to all this trouble and we might all come away in a cloud of ignorance.

We must realize that nobody's primary vote decides much of anything. Instead the winner of the primary is ultimately decided by the party convention and the votes cast by the delegates. Can you imagine the bartering, bickering, bribery, and cajoling that must occur at those affairs? We might all be shocked and appalled……on the other hand, maybe not.

I thought it might be pretty cool to conduct the primaries on a "rotational basis". The states that go first in 2012 would go last in 2016 and so forth. Ho hum, can you imagine the screaming and fighting that would occur if one of the political parties tried to implement this? It would be a downright sideshow.
There is no doubt that we are all hamstrung by our two party system. Never in American history have more than two parties been dominant. When one party (the Federalists) has disintegrated, another (the Whigs) springs up to take its place, and the two parties continue on as before. We all have seen that third parties and independents never seem to go very far. So we all end up having to play by the party rules whether we like them or not.

In the end, let us all remember that the vote of the PEOPLE does not elect the president. Rather it is the vote of the STATES in the form of the electoral college that makes the decision. This of course comes under fire all the time from all directions. The Democrats still have not gotten over the election of 2000 when Bush lost the popular vote but gained enough electoral votes to prevail. If the situation had been reversed, I am sure Republicans would still be bitching. However, the 2000 result was completely constitutional and the founders intended it to be this way. The electoral college gives just a bit more clout to the voters of the small states over those of the big ones.

Have you noticed that each state no matter how big or small has exactly two votes in the senate? In the senate each STATE has equal power. Again this was the intent of the founders. They believed strongly in the rights and sovereignty of each state. I'm sure many of them are rolling over in their graves when they see how our all powerful and all intrusive central government had perverted the constitution they risked their very lives to create. Indeed states rights have been trampled time and again.

I guess our primary system is certainly not perfect and leaves a lot to be desired but when I look at places like Syria or North Korea where one murderous thug dies off only to be replaced by another, I can't really complain too much.

1 comment:

  1. Another point is that the votes cast in the caucus are not cast privately, groups of people gather together in one room, then gather together in groups for each candidate. The potential for peer pressure to vote with a certain group is strong. Would I change our system with North Korea or other places with dictators, no. I suppose when our system is compared to all others, it comes out on top. We might as well be satisfied with it, I don't see any changes any time soon.

    Right Truth