Monday, January 7, 2008

The Flawed Primary

Does this make any sense?

The New Hampshire presidential primaries are scheduled for tomorrow. I’ve previously stated that I’m already sick and tired of this election season and honestly haven’t followed it too closely. But I just heard a news clip that said polls show Barack Obama and John McCain have huge leads in their respective parties going into tomorrow’s primaries. I guess that part is OK, but other reports I’ve heard today raise some suspicion that the results won’t truly reflect how participants in the two parties really feel.

You see, according to various reports, anyone can vote in either party’s elections tomorrow. I guess I’m naïve to think that Republicans should determine who will represent them in the national elections and Democrats should make the same determination for their party. But that’s not the case in NH. So-called Independents, or unenrolled citizens, can pick a party and vote tomorrow. It appears that NH is not unique as Maine, and in some other states, Independents can do the same thing.

We have caucuses rather than primary balloting, as did Iowa last week, but people not enrolled in a party can still participate in those caucuses. In some states, at least, and I believe Maine is among them, the Independents must declare for a party the day of the caucus, but can return to their Independent status 3 months later.

According to the news reports, it will be those unenrolled voters who will determine the Democrat Obama and Republican McCain victories in NH tomorrow. Several candidates in both parties will effectively be eliminated from the races tomorrow as the news media will declare the also-rans out thus drying up the funds for those campaigns.

How many NH winners have gone on to their party’s eventual nomination? Bill Clinton didn’t win in NH. George Bush didn’t, either. They, however, were in the financial condition that allowed them to continue and go on to be President of the United States. And John McCain, if my memory serves me, was a NH winner.

Now please don’t misconstrue my feelings here. I’m not saying that Obama and McCain should not be the eventual nominee. I’m just saying that I think the process is flawed. It seems to me that if Barack Obama is going to be the nominee, you know, the one listed on the November ballot with a D after his name, and if John McCain is going to be nominee with the R after his name, then their nominations should be from Democrats and Republicans and not from so-called Independents who will claim to be D’s or R’s for the hour.

Of course, if New Hampshire is the bellwether state it claims to be, as a result of past elections there is a good possibility that neither Obama nor McCain will be around this summer.

It all makes no sense to me. Perhaps I should have been following this incredibly long election process just a little closer.


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