The state of Florida is looking to move up their Presidential Primary again, as part of a race between all the states to try and dictate the outcomes of the elections. Currently Florida is looking at a January 29 date, trying to move ahead of South Carolina. And while a part of me is thrilled that a small extremist state won't be able to dictate the early standings of the primary, I'm still horrified by the fact that our election process has been so corrupted, twisted, complex, to the point of near collapse.
I'd argued before that individual states should not hold separate primaries. Because it gives one candidate an undue early lead if he can convince the extremists in one state to choose him before the extremists in other states chose another. Whoever gets an early lead along with the most money tends to be the winner (winning the first state sometimes not, but the second and third ones, you get those you pretty much win the whole thing). Because early winners can say one thing to win in the early states and then flip-flop in the other more moderate states while the early voters get screwed by the betrayals. Because no one state should choose before another.
The problem now is that we've got the Primary equivalent of an arms race. Now South Carolina is threatening to go to the first week in January. Michigan is looking at January as well. New Hampshire is looking at Thanksgiving of THIS year. Iowa, I've heard, is looking into temporal quantum mechanics to see about getting their primary held in 1876.
The political parties are also threatening to block any primary electors if Florida hosts the primary before Feb. 5th. Also to punish any candidates who campaign in Florida before Feb. 5th as well.
Will someone finally recognize the Primary system is broken and flawed and needs replacing? It may be better than the smoke-filled backroom dealings of previous election cycles, but this isn't democracy. It's pre-packaged failure of choices. We need to replace it with these elements:
- No election campaigning, fundraising, or ANYTHING until the actual year of election for all elected offices. It'll cut down on these prolonged drawn-out mudslinging wars (and replace them with swifter weapons of mass distraction instead, I know...).
- All Presidential primaries to be held on the same day in June. Gives people six months to campaign from January on, well enough time to establish how much of a crook everyone else is.
- All Presidential candidates must campaign evenly in all states and districts that are able to provide Primary representation. They can't ignore New Hampshire or North Dakota and focus on California, Texas and/or Florida. ALL states need to see the candidates and choose. And for all the small staters who can complain that this hurts their representation, let me note: you get representation from your Senators, and your Congresspersons. The President represents THE WHOLE COUNTRY. So the WHOLE COUNTRY should have an equal say.
- Another idea tacked on: The Presidential candidate determined by their party's primary system cannot choose his/her own Vice-President. That is to be determined from the convention attendees. And no nominations: all write-in votes. It won't stop people from campaigning for the job at the convention, but at least it'll make the convention interesting. And it may provide a nice hiccup to one wing of a party taking over the whole campaign: The Presidential candidate could well choose someone like-minded, to the detriment of others in the party (for example, Cheney choosing HIMSELF for the Veep role. THAT should have sent up red flags immediately, but noooooo.). This gives the other wings (moderates, fringers, single-issue manaics, whoever didn't get their boy elected to the top post) a chance to have a say in who's running. Say if we get another Clinton for the Democrats (please let it be Chelsea, please let it be Chelsea), those in the Democratic groups who didn't support her could team together and force a Veep candidate like a Howard Dean to keep the liberals involved. Of course, whoever wins the write-in could well turn it down, as is their right. Still, like I said this would make the conventions more interesting than they are now.
I've beaten this drum already a few times. I seriously think we ought to push for this. If not at the national level then certainly the state one. Please post comments. If there's anyone out there...