Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Is This Any Way to Run a Democracy?

OK, I'm now sold on changing our antiquated system of choosing the President of the United States.

First, as I've written recently, I completely back a national primary day. Move the date to sometime in May in order to give every candidate enough time to raise the money to get on a bus and travel from sea to shining sea. Take the power away from such homogenous states like Iowa and New Hampshire that have nothing in common with the rest of Creation. I've heard others call for such changes as a regional primary system which would rotate every election cycle, but that will just lead to regional candidates being favored. I've also heard calls for replacing primaries with the caucus system nationwide, which would favor informed activists and disenfranchise voters. Although the idea of having those who are informed on the issues picking nominees is intuitive on many levels, I'm not ready to give up on democracy and the right to vote just yet. That being said, the whole system needs a major overhaul.

Second, the idea of delegates needs to hit the bricks. I'm no layman, and even I can't justify why Barack Obama carried Alabama yesterday by 14% (about 78,000 votes) but somehow received fewer delegates from that state than Hillary Clinton. That's mind boggling and nonsensical. The superdelegate and uncommitted delegate system used by each respective party oozes elitism, and in this system where its the delegates that count at the convention, it reeks of impropriety.

I say we try that whole democracy thing again. After all, we've put a man on the moon. Surely we can figure out a system that is more democratic and works better than the clunker we have now.

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Political parties are supposed to choose nominees. We ought to let those who care enough to take the time to do that and to be active do the choosing.
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