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My friend Scott D, who writes the fishsuit blog, posted an entry today about attending a Democratic caucus here in Seattle. In his post, he articulated precisely what annoys me about the party's decision to ignore the primary:

...we have a primary in Washington, but the Democratic party has decided to ignore it when awarding delegates. In other words, you are free to vote in the primary, but if you actually want your vote to count, you have to leave your child with your spouse and haul your ass to an elementary school on a Saturday afternoon.

I assume that the party does this because in Washington state, by law, you do not have to declare a party affiliation to vote in a primary. This is perfect for independent-minded voters like myself: I can choose which party I want to support based on the candidates. It’s presumably terrible for a political party machine that wants to control who their nominee is. (Why else would the Democrats reserve nearly 20% of their national delegates for party insiders?)

They still can’t legally require you to be a Democrat to participate in the caucus — as they admit through clenched teeth in their FAQ (“Q: Do I have to be a registered Democrat to vote in the Caucus? A. Washington State does not require a voter to register by Party.”) — so the party makes it more difficult for people to participate in order to insure that only the true blue Democrats will come.

I too prefer to consider myself independent - not capital-I third-party Independent, just independent - because I want to elect the best person for the job, not to put a particular group ideology into power. So I resent any party-based aspects of our electoral system. I plan to vote in the primary, even though I know if I choose to vote for a Democratic candidate, my vote will be ignored. It's not much of a protest, but it is my right to vote.

I'm not so naive to think that we can do away with political parties, or even that nothing good can ever come of having them. However, I can't help wondering, if all elections were mandated non-partisan, would that help loosen the death-grip of the two party system and allow a little more choice and diversity into our government? Or would that just make corrupt/unethical party dealings harder to observe and prevent?



On a completely unrelated note, Mono In VCF put on a gorgeous show. Expect a review later today (Sunday).

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Comments

( 3 have written — Write )
houseofglee
Feb. 10th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
It really irked me to think of all the people who have to work on Saturday whose votes won't be counted because they weren't able to attend the caucuses. The mail-in ballots provides parity-- you can vote any old time of day or night, just as long as you get your ballot in on time. Making only the caucus votes count smacks of elitism.

Yesterday, I went to the caucus, moved through crowds of people thronging like brislings (though granted, they were more polite and said "Excuse me," which is something I've never heard from a brisling), registered my vote, and walked out. There were too many people for a debate/discussion about political candidates.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 13th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
(Scott D.) It looks like the momentum is breaking for Obama, and I've heard rumblings that some superdelegates may be backing off a little from defying the will of the voters. There are still some big states to go, but my dream scenario of Obama vs. McCain is looking more and more likely. I love the idea of both parties ending up with candidates that are disliked by the party brass. I think that bodes well for America.
parkbenchzine
Feb. 14th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
agreed...

I love the idea of who do I like more, instead of who do I dislike least...
( 3 have written — Write )

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