Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Fair Way To Fix Michigan/ Florida Primaries

The latest Buzz is that Florida, and possibly Michigan, are planning a “mail-in primary.” How hard is it to understand that the primary ship has sailed? The only options left are A) do not count the votes in any meaningful way, or B) give the residence of these states a greater say then all of the other voters from the other primaries. There are no “fair” options available to those states. Somehow rewarding them for violating the rules doesn’t seem right.

The fate of unbalanced options occurred as soon as a clear winner emerged from the Republican Party. Really as soon as the original primary happened there were huge hurdles to rectify. Holding a mail-in ballot at this point can not justly correct that situation.

To explain one has to accept that 70 to 80% of the country are middle of the road politically. Many of us, myself included, vote in either party’s primary depending on who is the candidate I find most interesting. In Ohio we are allowed to change party affiliation on the day of primary. I believe that is true in Florida and Michigan too.

As an informed voter, the kind you really want voting in elections, ride along with me on my train of thought. Let’s put me in Michigan. So I really like Obama and I am planning on voting for him in the primaries. Then my state moves to violate some DNC rules and vote earlier in the process. The punishment is that the votes won't be counted in the nomination process. They are also violating the RNC rules, however the states voters receive a punishment of a reduction in vote weight, but is not disqualification of my vote. So voting in the Republican primary will allow me to have some influence. Besides that fact that the vote for a democratic candidate in Michigan is simply symbolic, I find out my candidate of choice is not even going to be on the ballot. At that point I am resolved to vote for Ron Paul, who appears on the Republican ticket. I think he is a really great candidate and I would love to see him square of against Obama. My other option is not to vote at all. It is early in the elections and the rest of the country is still voting for 3 to 4 violable democratic candidates. None of them have come to my state to talk or waste advertising dollars. Why would they, my vote isn’t going to count. So I go and switch to a republican party, and I caste my vote.

Now, I knew going to the poles that my vote wasn’t counting on the Democratic side. That is why I didn’t do it. I voted for a Republican nominee. If the powers that be decide to hold another democratic primary, what are they going to do with me? Do I get a vote in both primaries giving me a vote unequal to the rest of the country? If I get a vote, do other more malice intent republicans also get a vote in the democratic primary? Most poles emerging show Obama beating McCain by 4 to 7 percentage points in a general election. They show Hillary in a statistical dead heat with McCain. If I am a staunch right wing republican who likes McCain, given the choice of democratic candidates, I am going to vote for the one that McCain will have the best chance of beating. So really my vote has been given way more strength then all other Americans. On paper, the malice intending right winger and me, a middle of the road moderate, look the same. How are you going to tell the difference between us?

There are other factors that can never be equaled. For example campaigning budgets and resources in the offending states would have to be set up in a hurry to the disadvantage the candidate that followed the rule. All of the sudden a candidate will have to scramble and redirect energy from the original plan. At this point, that would belike sitting on the 9 yard line, 1st and goal. Then all the sudden the referee comes out and says, “Sorry, we are going to move back the goal line 20 yards, hope you don’t mind.” There might be a fair way to do it that I am overlooking, but the current proposal isn’t it.

No comments:

Counter text

New counter