Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Tyranny Of The Primary System


Lots of primary's today, and much talk about who will win. Will the tea party favored candidate trounce the GOP old guard candidate? Are incumbents going to be a casualty?

Heady stuff for sure, but no one seems to look at one glaring fact. Namely that primary's traditionally poll only 20 to 30 percent of the electorate. That is to say that most people stay home and just vote in the November general election.

Is it fair that these 'activists' get to determine the choices for others? I would argue no. Sure, we can warn these 'November Only' voters, that they need to be more involved. But the fact has been verified for the last 50 years: Most people simply are only be willing to come to a polling place once a year and no more.


Add to this the understanding that most states have what is termed 'closed primary's'. This means you must be registered either as a Republican or a Democrat to be part of the primary process.

But wait, what about registered Independents? Too bad, they are going to be stuck with limited choices in November. And remember that more than 25 percent of voters refuse to register with either the Democrats or Republicans!

So if we take the 25 percent registered independents who can't take part in the primary and realize that two-thirds of registered Democrats and Republicans won't be voting today, we come up with a very sobering thought. Far from the primary system being the voice of the people it is instead the tyranny of the few!

Let's think about this for a minute. Do we really want our political destiny determined by so few people? I certainly don't.

Again we can argue all day long with neighbors that they must get involved in the primary process. But like it or not, most people are not political junkies and never will be. They want to vote once and that isn't changing any time soon.

Take my friend Abe (actually his real name;-). Abe is quite opinionated and has a general disgust for most politicians. I've made the case to him months ago that he should consider Marco Rubio. And this was long before Marco leaped to prominence.

But Abe is a registered independent and has been for a long time. He typically votes for Republicans (Bush got his vote in 2000 and 2004, as did McCain. But he refuses to register Republican or get involved in primary's. "Too much trouble. I'll just make my choice in November."

This all leads me to a conclusion. I'm quitting the 'can't vote third party or you'll split the vote.' Nope, since the choices offered by the Republican and Democrat party's are nowhere near the choice of the people, I say: Warmly welcome the third party's!

The point is this. Many people are complaining about the government and their elected officials. Perhaps we should start having more choices rather than making politics a game of point-spreads and adorable animal mascots.

Maybe, just maybe, we can send a real message: We have come to take our government back, and we're not just limiting it to your phony two party choices.

Nick Egoroff