Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What's "Super" about it?

Today, for anyone who hasn’t followed this election 3 year process, is Super Tuesday. On this day 15 states are holding primary elections and another 10 are holding caucuses either for both parties or at least one. As I write this, the results aren’t yet known so if you’re looking for results, you won’t find the here.

As we move through this very active period where the political parties are fooling people into thinking they have a real say in who our next President will be, I’m reflecting on just how little we people really do choose the President. Several candidates for the nominations in each party have already fled the scene. Some might argue they never had a chance anyway, but we’ll really never know, will we?

The news media, first of all, has a huge part in choosing the Presidents. They pick and choose which people they’ll write favorable material about and which they’ll focus on the negative. You doubt that? Just one area will give you something to ponder. Religion. We’ve read thousands of words about the religion of two candidates, Mitt Romney, a member of the LDS, and Mike Huckabee, a Christian conservative minister. How many words have we seen about the religion of Hillary Clinton? Of John McCain? Of Barack Obama? Of Ron Paul? Or of any of the other candidates already vanished from the race? I missed a couple, didn’t I? Sorry, Alan Keyes and John Cox. (I hate to admit I have absolutely no idea who John Cox is.)

It might be interesting to see how many words have been printed about each candidate or how many minutes have been shown on TV. Perhaps the better reflection is how many negative and positive words/pictures have appeared. I was taught that the news should present only facts, both sides, and then let the reader/viewer reach a conclusion. Most of today’s reporters are under the delusion they have to reach the conclusion for you.

I could go on, I think, for pages on the news media and politics. But I won’t. Instead, I have some thoughts on the process which is designed to make us believe we have choices.

In some states, caucus and primaries decided how that state’s convention delegates must vote, at least through the first round. In Maine, the caucuses mean very little except it gives the world how the majority of Mainers feel about those candidates that have gotten this far. As far as the state convention is concerned, the locally elected delegates only vote for the allotted number of delegates to the national convention. And, even though there will be an attempt to convince everyone there this system works, once the delegates are elected, they can go to the national conventions and vote as they please right from the beginning. The Democrat system varies slightly in that some must support the state winner through one round.

And then the national delegates determine who will be the Presidential candidates, and that vote ultimately reflects the feelings of the delegates. So next November we’ll have on the ballot two persons that we think we had a hand in nominating.

But it doesn’t stop there. It is not the popular vote that determines the President but rather a convention called the Electoral College consisting of representatives of the number of congress people and they, the Electoral College, will determine the next President of the United States.

In this day and age of modern, fast communications, I can’t help but wonder why all this is necessary. Maybe, just maybe, national primaries could be held to determine who will represent the parties on the November Ballot. If no one got a majority, a runoff between the first two or three could be held. If another runoff is needed, so be it; but the party winners would appear on the November ballot with a popular vote winner-take-all.

But, you ask, what about Independent or other party (like Green or Constitution) candidates could be on the ballot via the same process.

Unfortunately, such a system takes away the “good old boy (now person)” network and the reward for loyalists and the Big Party National Convention would be in great jeopardy. But, at least I’d, and you’d, have a real say in who our President is.


No comments: