Privatize the Primaries

The new top two primary system in California is forcing the state's political parties to re-evaluate, if not entirely overhaul, their traditional political and electoral strategies.  Since all candidates for a given office will appear on the same primary ballot, and the top two vote-getters –regardless of their party affiliation or lack thereof–, then advance to the general election, party strategists fear that the potential fragmentation of the vote will result in an outright loss by default.  For instance, if there are two Democrats and three Republicans represented on the ballot, the Republican candidates will necessarily be at a disadvantage, since the GOP vote will be split between three candidates, while the Democrats rally around two. 

This dynamic provides a potential strategic opening to third party and Independent candidates.  If the Democratic and Republican party vote is split among an array of candidates, an Independent or third party candidate could conceivably advance to the general election by garnering, say, 20% of the primary vote – or even less depending on the particulars of the election.  The California Republican Party is therefore preparing to run a "pre-primary," in which the party would nominate its candidates ahead of the official primary election.  W.E. Messamore reports at CAIVN:
At its convention this year, the California Republican Party has adopted changes to maintain its ability to influence the outcome of California's primaries. The new measures would allow the Republican Party to run a "pre-primary" of sorts. At least that's how critics see it. The state GOP will now officially be able to pick party favorites via early endorsements. . . .
This "pre-primary" would not be a public election, but rather a private affair, fully funded by the state's Republican party itself.  This is a step in the right direction.  The public primary election process effectively functions as a massive subsidy to the Democratic and Republican parties for which all taxpayers are forced to foot the bill.  Why should Democrats, Independents and third party supporters be forced to pay for the nominating elections of the Republican party?  Why should Republicans, Independents and third party supporters have to pay for the nominating elections of the Democratic party?  From The Desert Sun, via The Hankster:
Riverside County is starting to evaluate what cost savings would come if political parties' internal elections were no longer part of the primary election ballot.  Candidates for the parties' central committees comprise a significant portion of ballots in California's primaries.
In 2008, 53 percent of the candidates on Riverside County's June ballot were central committee candidates. They comprised 40 percent of the county's primary ballot last year, according to an analysis published last week in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Now an effort is starting, led by the San Diego registrar, to take such candidates off the regular ballot and instead create a separate selection process. The change needs the Legislature's endorsement, but it could save millions statewide, according to the Union-Tribune's report.
It is long past time to remove the private affairs of narrow, factionalist groups such as the Democratic and Republican parties from the public ballot.  From The Political Party Pooper:
Primary elections are paid for by the residents of the jurisdiction, they are included in the budget of the Election Board as provided for by the Legislature. What are Primary elections about? The simplest answer is that Primaries are about narrowing the field of candidates for a General election, whatever that election be for, such as a Presidential, Congressional, or local office . To simplify it even further, typically, in the United States, the Primary Election is all about choosing a Party Candidate to run in the General Election. Primary Elections are the tool by which the two political parties, Republicans and Democrats, choose their candidates.

Does it seem odd to you that local citizens are forced to pay for a political party’s candidate selection process? Isn’t that something the political party ought to pay for? After all, it’s their gig, it’s for their benefit, why are taxpayers footing the bill for their election? And we DO KNOW that these are Party Elections, because the Supreme Court has called them such.

With a cost of around $33 Million per State (averaged), the total bill is over $1.6 Billion for these elections across the nation. That includes money for poll workers, sites, ballot counting, and all of the other things necessary for a fair election process.

So the question I want answered by political party supporters is: why are we, the taxpayers, paying for your political party’s election?

It’s not constitutional, and in fact, I’d have to say that if anything, it’s probably illegal. Especially considering that no political party in America has the legal authority to tax citizens for their election. So, let’s hear from the party supporters. Let’s hear your excuses.
This situation is all the more egregious in states with closed or semi-closed primaries in which only party members are even allowed to cast a ballot.  The primary process then becomes a recruitment tool for the party: "Let your voice be heard! Join the party so you can vote in the primary!"  If Democrats and Republicans do not want the public at large to be allowed to vote in their primary elections, then those elections should not be publicly funded, but rather privately administered and funded by the parties themselves.

On a related note, I've been trying to track down dollar amounts for the cost of publicly administering the primary elections of the Democratic and Republican parties on a state by state basis, but have not had much luck finding the relevant info.  Anyone out there have any ideas on where to look?

1 comment:

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

Go, Tea-Party-Hardy, go!!! No one can stop U.S.!!! If the super-wealthy-33 think they have control, they're sadly MissGuided. God bless you and all who stand for what the Revolutionary War was fought against. Live free or DIE. PS See 'peace-de-resistance' first. Thank you. And as Ghandi once sed, 'Let's kick some ass' --- The funny thing is, now I’m on BIG, BAD Janet’s list of bloody terrorists even though I’m a head-injured-wetard for speak’n the TRUTH. Most of U.S. are controlled, conformed, walking ‘the Wall’ to our demise: rise above, America. Think summore past the vastly impotent, world government; don’t do the suicidal, whorizontal reality; and please don’t get played like a HAARP. Hope you got something outta this I-candy: Truth Shall Set You Free.