Nothing to Fight Over but Personalities and Trivialities

The two-party state and duopoly system of government is today virtually antithetical to constitutional government: Democratic-Republican party government represents a crisis of democracy and representative republican government.  In an opinion piece at the Maryland Gazette, Blair Lee provides a rundown of the situation following the primaries in the Old Line State:

In Afghanistan, voters dodged Taliban rockets and death threats, waited hours at polling places and dealt with widespread fraud. Yet, voter turnout was 40 percent. Maryland's Election Day was peaceful, sunny and went off without a hitch, yet voter turnout was only 24 percent, the lowest on record. . . .

I believe, voters stayed away in droves because there wasn't much to vote for. Thanks to gerrymandering, closed primaries, one-party government and the power of incumbency, a vast number of candidates, including the comptroller and the attorney general, ran unopposed.

In the races for the General Assembly, 120 candidates ran unopposed, including a majority of the incumbent state senators. And 78 percent of the incumbent local County Council members and county commissioners were safely re-elected.  Where spirited primaries offered voters real choices, turnout went up. For instance, Baltimore's brutal state's attorney's race boosted the city's turnout from 15.1 percent in 2006 to 21.5 percent this year.

But in most counties the closed primary system eliminated real ideological choices, resulting in like-minded Democrats running against like-minded Democrats and like-minded Republicans running against like-minded Republicans. In these closed affairs, devoid of issues, the candidates had nothing to fight over but personalities and trivialities.