This never ending primary

I know I can’t possibly be the only person who is sick of the primary election. For the past several months it has been impossible to turn on a news channel and not hear either the name Obama or Clinton within a maximum of

2.5 minutes of turning on the TV. Even if you did happen to turn on the TV during either a commercial break or during one of the rare occasions when an actual news event trumps election debates there is a 99.75% chance that along the bottom of the screen is a reminder about the primary that never ends parading across the screen in the case of the later, or a commercial promising more coverage of the primary in the case of the former.

 

For me this election has been a stark reminder of how much the American democratic system is anything but a true democracy. First of all the whole primary process is ridiculous in my opinion. What the Democratic Primary looks like from my perspective

 

Every state apparently has its own rules about who gets to vote and how these votes are counted. I.e some states have regular old balloted elections and other states have caucuses (what in Cracklin John is a caucus anyway) and some states have both. Some states allow only members of the party to vote in that party’s primary while others will allow anyone to vote in their primary. And at the end of the day it’s not actually this hodgepodge of votes that counts anyway, it’s the number of delegates that each candidate is assigned. But both parties don’t assign delegates the same way. For the Republican Party it’s winner takes all while for the Democrats the delegates are assigned proportionally to the number of votes the candidate received. Given that these delegates don’t provide enough of a majority for a clear winner in come the superdelegates to save the day. Who the heck are the superdelegates and why are they so freaking super anyway?

 

(Disclaimer…while in the process of typing this post I got hungry and paused to fix myself some breakfast. In this process I placed a couple of eggs on the counter and somehow one of them rolled onto the floor. In my unsuccessful attempt to intervene in the eventual fate of this egg I banged my knee on a cabinet. Therefore the remainder of my post could possibly be tainted by my current state of mind as I sit here rubbing my knee. End disclaimer.)

 

This year there is the added drama of the debacle over the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates. Since their elections were held early their delegates got stripped away from them. How does a state get to have an illegal election anyway? Clinton of course wanted them counted because she won the majority of the votes in these contests. But is there even a slight possibility that she won the majority in Michigan, at least in part, due to the fact that she was the only major candidate on the ballot? If your name is the only one that anyone has heard of there is a strong possibility that the people who showed up at the election just to get the I Voted sticker will pick you. Now given this scenario Clinton got about 57% of the vote. But about 40% of the people chose uncommitted. It is very likely that at least 95% of those who voted uncommitted were people who had actually been paying attention to the election and wanted to somehow cast their vote for Obama (or possibly one of the other candidates not represented on the ballot). Given these circumstances there is really no fair way to allocate the delegates from this contest. But alas the DNC made an attempt at it anyway. And even though Clinton got the majority of these delegates she is still whining about the fact that 4 “extra” delegates from Michigan went to Obama. This is further evidence of Clintons win this at any cost approach that she appears to have been using the entire election. Obama on the other hand has done all that he could to run a classy campaign despite the mud that has been thrown at him from both the Republican candidate and Clinton’s camp. (That’s another post entirely).

 

The whole primary process frankly has given me severe indigestion. The worst part of it all for me is the fact that I haven’t even had a chance to cast a ballot since I refuse to align myself with a party therefore I’m registered as an independent. And in Maryland independents are excluded from the primary process. (While I understand the whole threat of crossover voters skewing the results I have major beef with this rule, but that too could be another post entirely).

 

I could write an entire post on my beef with sheer length of the primary season as well but I’m pretty sure the majority of the three or so people who might have started reading this have since gotten tired of reading my whining by now. So to the one person who has stuck with me through all of this I leave you with this parting thought. American politics suck, but most of the rest of the world’s politics suck more. So since residing in outer space is not yet a viable option we’re stuck with the flawed systems we currently have for now.

 

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