When I registered Inde I knew very well that that meant I couldn't vote in primaries. That was ok with me. That was the point. Let the parties, those idiots, choose and then I'll choose from that list of losers. Whats the big deal. Indes know what they are getting into.
I'm going to blame TV commercials for the problem. They have trained Americans to make decisions based on little thought and momentary reactions when making all decisions. That, combined with the total loss of meaningful widespread instruction in the processes of American government and history , results in ignorant voters choosing elected representatives on the basis of momentary attraction to brief images , as in TV commercials. Hardly anyone reads newspapers for actual reported content anymore and the Internet is full of ridiculous statements accepted as fact. Makes me want to quit trying!
In this state we can change our registration almost as often as our socks. A liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican can become an independent, go to the polls and select a ballot of the opposition party and skew the results toward nominating the weakest of the candidates on that ballot. Then she (the liberal Democrat) goes back online and reclaims her partisan status, while he (the conservative Republican) does the same. Enough people doing this would give the general election voter of whatever affiliation a choice between the weakest candidates rather than the strongest. not an ideal solution.
Tom, you appear to have an attention span which is nearing Donald Trump as you age. When you visited this topic of independents voting in primaries a few years ago, I pointed out to you that since these primary elections are funded using my tax dollars I should be able to go to the polling place and vote for the candidate of a party that I would like to see in the general election (since the Democrats pretty much control my district, I have voted in the Republican primaries to try to weed out nutball candidates like Jim Sweeney was. At that time, you agreed that I had a point and that you wouldn't mind paying a nominal fee as a Democrat to allow only Democrats to vote in their primary. Nowhere in your latest piece did I see even a hint of such a thing. The Democratic and Republican parties have all ready rigged the system in their favor. Independents just want to even the playing field a little and try to find the best solution--not the solution that appeals to the far left and the far right.
I would bet many of you would be fine with open primaries, until independents nominated a fruitcake in your party, knocking out the viable candidate, and then you lost in the general election...
You would be the next to cry for closed primaries. Now that I think about it, isn't that how Bill Clinton got elected when Ross Perot split the vote?
Perot captured 19% of the vote. Some from each party leaving Clinton with the win but not even 50% of the vote.
Absolutely on the mark, Tom. We should demand that the party leaders (the 'establishment') begin to do whatever is necessary to attract independents to select one or the other - or, failing that, to get together on a couple of major ideas and form a third party that will displace one of the existing parties. Reagan's comment that he only wants people who agree with him 80 percent of the time was blatantly wrong. We in either party should want people who agree with us 51 percent of the time! 'Other democracies' have chosen the parliamentary system which was rejected by our Founding Fathers. We could change to that system with a constitutional amendment that abolishes fixed terms for the Presidency, elects Congress during the same election as that of the President, and allows for whoever gets the most votes in the electoral college to serve, as long as he forms a majority coalition of the various minority parties that are elected at the same time.
The two party system cannot possibly include every political viewpoint. You have to let independents vote in primaries because to do otherwise would exclude the opinions of a vast group of concerned voters. Limiting the democratic primary to only registered democrats is tantamount to saying that only white male land owners' votes count. Always strive for inclusiveness.
Hate. A very harsh word and a very strong emotion. I try to avoid it as much as possible. I'm only human so I can't avoid it all together. For example, I hated it when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. I also hate it every time the Rats in pinstripes ( The N.Y. Yankees) win a ball game. I don't hate you, Tom. Never have. Never will. I just dislike how you blew me off the way you did. We got off to a great start years ago when I called you an " Atomic Asshole" in my first E-mail to you. It's obvious that it would snow in July before we agreed on anything ( except # 58). You figured out that I wasn't such a bad guy and vice versa. I learned that you can disagree and still get along. We've had some good exchanges over the years. After my one month ban from the T.W. ( To this day no one will tell me what I did). You dropped me like a bad habit. That's fine. I just feel that the right thing would be to explain why. Not asking too much. To be honest I don't really care to tear into you like I do. Just my way to show I'm pissed at how I was treated.
Hater Al/C.W. 13
All good points. I will agree (in direct response to the main point of the article) that registered Independents should not be allowed to vote in Republican or Democratic primaries. I have been a registered Independent for at least twenty years, and have never taken advantage of the law that allows me to "pick a primary." I don't for the same reason I don't participate in the parliamentary processes of the NOW, or the NRA, or my local Elks Club: I'm not a member.
Neither the present primary system which allows independents to choose a side at their polling place nor their exclusion from choosing the major candidates is entirely satisfactory. I'm afraid Tom is incorrect in saying that for an independent to run is easy: " It's not that hard. Gather some signatures, pay a fee." I believe an independent needs a lot more signatures than does a party person to get on the ballot, and lacks the ready-made cadre of helpers to get those signatures. As to the 'party-free' primary system and its almost certain poor results, Tom might want to take a look at the situation in California, where such a system is in place and doesn't seem to have led to terrible choices.
Take a look at our Legislative District 14, represented for the past 7+ years by the current Speaker, David Gowan. The district is so Republican that no Democrat has a prayer of being elected, but if a reasonably intelligent and articulate Republican had run against Gowan eight years ago in a 'party-free' election our legislative history might be a bit different.
Some of us find ourselves agreeing with neither party on a lot of issues, especially in these days and times. I find myself agreeing with the Green & Libertarian parties sometimes, but that is as good as flushing a vote down the shitter. What do you suggest for an independent voter such as I? DC
The fact is Independents and non-aligned voters ARE a plurality of registered voters nationally with Democrats leading Republicans among registered party members. The curious case could be, after this election, the percentage of non-aligned voters will increase even more leaving a steadily shrinking pool of Democrats and Republicans to determine nominees for the rest of the voters to select from.
But Tom has a point. We have two candidates loosely associated with the major political parties (Sanders with the Democrats and Trump with the Republicans) leading or challenging in the nomination process. In a sane world (like the other western democracies) there would be other alternatives, parties where Sanders and Trump could stand for election. But these interlopers have instead stormed the party primary apparatus creating renegade movements and seriously distracting the parties they are disrupting. They should, as Tom would have it, go find their own playgrounds.
Let them eat cake.
This two party system is working so well we have the prospect of good Republicans (they exist) being forced to choose between a lunatic carnival barker, a greasy televangelist or, if the party chooses to implode, an unnamed guy who didn't bother to run in the primaries. Good Democrats have the choice of selecting between a Wall Street stooge and failed secretary of state or a Democratic Socialist.
I'd go with the Democratic Socialists but I'd bet on the Lunatic Carnival Barkers.
The best argument for an open primary where anyone can vote for anyone is the possibility that it could reduce the partisan extremism. Right now in Arizona the Republican primary is basically a contest of who can be more wacko. "I'd deport all illegals." "Ha, I'd shoot 'em." "Well, I'd shoot 'em and then deport 'em, and maybe all the poor people, too." If politicians had to think about the votes of sane people, not just the most rabid of the rabid, that might be a good thing.
I don't get the independent registration. What's the point? Find the party you most agree with, join it and try to make it better.
OMG! He said gals! We're all gonna die!
Just read that in my hard copy of the Tucson Weekly.
I would add that a brilliant scientist was killed last year while riding his bicycle by a driver who was texting! And the judge banned her from owning a cell phone for two years. Needless to say, the cycling community erupted into a worse rage than a The Donald rally.
Years ago, when Al Melvin was my state senator, he was working with Steve Farley to pass a law to ban texting and driving. And I sent him encouraging emails. Alas, it was to no avail then, Texting while driving turns lethal all the time. You would think the bonehead Arizona state blech-islature would do something about it. Make it a primary offense and have law enforcement enforce it.
Sorry Mark, but Tammy wouldn't know a job if he tripped over one.
Hilarious column. Great job, Tom. Love it.
You seem to be desirous of interest. Hard to get dislikes if no one's interested, no? Sounds like a win/win.
As for the prom, give it some. You'll reconsider.
Brad, I seem to interest you. Sorry, I already have a date for the Senior prom.
You still don't get it. It's the dislikes that amuse me. But, thanks for the thought.
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