Friday, February 08, 2008

Tuesday Was Not Super for Texas

I pretty much have a self-imposed rule to never discuss politics per se on this blog (although it's probably fairly easy to tell where I lean on certain things just from the nature of things that I post about here), but I do feel the need to chime in about the political process itself: Since Texas didn't take part in the "Super Duper Tuesday" set of primary elections (even though some people thought it was, both parties are quickly running out of candidates who will still be in the race by the time we hit the polls on March 4, and to me, there's something wrong with that.

The primary system has become way too spread-out, and something ought to be done. I like the idea expressed by some that the nation ought to be divided up into four regions that would hold their primaries in consecutive weeks. Some have suggested that the regions be divided up as northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, and that's fine by me; others have suggested that the quarters be done by population, so that the small states would keep their early influence and build to a big finish in the fourth week of primaries. It wouldn't bother me at all if the whole thing didn't start until around March (under this plan, they would be done by April). It just seems ridiculous that some of the races are all but over by the time that people in a huge state such as Texas get to vote.

And I heard something on the radio yesterday (to which I can't find a link anywhere) that really bugged me: Longtime Dallas County elections administrator Bruce Sherbet was pointing out the fact that the ballots for March 5 were printed some time ago, so they contained the names of several people who have since left the race: Fred Thompson, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and so on. Sherbet also hoped that nobody would vote for these non-candidates.

But I strongly disagree. In a situation where certain races are practically locked up by the time they get to a certain state, there's nothing wrong (IMHO) with the voters in that state using the primaries to send a message to the national party by casting a ballot for someone who's no longer a candidate. And in a truly just system, anyone who was receiving federal campaign funds shouldn't be allowed to drop out of a race until all the primaries are done.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this, but as long as we're going to allow the two "major" parties to control as much of the process as they do, there should be a few ground rules to guarantee that as many people as possible have their say in who the nominee gets to be.

Back to regular stuff tomorrow.

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