Sunday, June 08, 2008

Unique 2008 USA Presidential Election

Future Election Primaries

I'm glad to see the USA Democratic Political Party has resolved who they expect to nominate as their Presidential candidate, Barack Obama. The National Republican Party had settled on John McCain as their expected candidate some time ago. Both political parties will officially designate their candidates this summer.

The original competing prospective Democratic candidates uniquely reflected gender and race differences. The expected final two national political party candidates have differing racial backgrounds, but that's just one factor making this year's Presidential election special in our country's history. I recognize, respect and honor that racial factor difference, but I don't intend to dwell on it any more than I would imagine the candidates see the need to do so. I hope they'll be allowed to focus their campaign efforts elsewhere in these months ahead.

I'm anticipating an election campaign that has the candidates debating the important issues that affect our daily lives and those of our country internationally, especially since all are so inter-related in todays' global economy.

Also, I hope the candidates, pundits, media-types and political junkies make every effort to keep the rhetoric focused on the pertinent issues through civil discourse.

We learned this year how election primaries can thwart our candidate selection process. I continue to condemn any primary election arrangements in future campaigns that prevent the electorate in any State from having the opportunity to vote for all the candidates. Rules that deprive individuals of their votes may be legal, but we saw in Florida and Michigan how convoluted government and/or political party manuevering adversely affected the rights of voters to participate in a meaningful primary election. We observed the muddled efforts to correct the problem after the fact. I believe in the rule of law -- ethical and moral application of just laws. Just because something is legal does not mean it's right and such limiting rules need to be changed, amended, eliminated, or whatever to protect all legal voters.

Voters in every State should protest loudly and clearly LONG BEFORE primary elections, should there be reason to believe they may be deprived of a legitimate meaningful primary election -- especially if circumstances develop as they did in Michigan and Florida this year with the Democratic Party candidates. If political parties and candidates are serious candidates, then each voter's ballot should provide the choice of selecting those candidates.

Candidates with their political parties are equally responsible to be certain they get their name on all States primary ballots for the sake of the voters and accurate primary election results.

Before our next primary elections I would welcome hearing others perceptions of the pros and cons of the various ways in which State primary elections are conducted.

My local California area uses the confidential election InkaVote ballot. I understand some other States use a much more open interactive caucus forum with which I have no first hand experience.

Is one of these systems preferable or superior to the other, and why?

Are there any other State primary election systems than these two types?

Just a reminder, we have about 21 more weeks until our November 2008 Presidential election date.

Lest anyone doubt it, this is a watershed year for change with much at stake for the everyday citizens of our nation and our democracy. We already know much about the Presidential candidates positions, but let's be certain we clearly understand their issue differences.

We want to make it strongly clear to all those chosen to represent our interests:

We demand accountability and expect our rights to be protected.


  1. Like you, I am relieved that the long, bitter struggle in the Democratic selection process is over. Now the important process begins.

    I also agree that every state should have a voice and every candidate should have the opportunity to hear those voices calling their names. However, there have to be rules and guidelines. Florida and Michigan chose to make up their own rules and play outside the party guidelines. This is no different than if a large state, let's say yours, CA, decided to have its general election on the last Tuesday of October. Or the third Wednesday of November. What would happen to those votes? If we support the rule of law, we must also support a majority rule and law of the land (or organization), especially when it comes to such time-sensitive issues as elections. I have no idea on how to do it correctly without penalizing someone, but failure to do so will result in complete chaos.

  2. I just noticed that in your labels you have spelled Obama's first name as Baraq. Is that an accepted alternative spelling or an error? Just curious since I have not seen it before and you do have Barack in the body of your post.

  3. I noticed that spelling too.
    This whole primary season has been a major learning experience for Americans. What I got out of it is that we need to focus on the notion of inclusion. More and more in the past few years we have tended in the direction of cutting large groups of people out of the democratic process.
    Identity politics is pernicious and needs to be put to rest. It's being used as an excuse to do nothing for groups of people we identify as "not like us." We all have to live and work in America and it's up to everyone to maintain civil society. In a functional society everyone has both rights and responsibilities.

  4. America's presidential election years are both a trial and a joy.

    In recent years, I have become a jaded voter - pissed off, mostly unrepresented, and feeling the voting ritual is just that - a ritual entrenched as force of habit and not even participated in by most Americans.

    It's tough to get fired up and excited about voting when you know you've been "had" by big money and the political machine that really pulls the levers.

  5. I am hopeful that we will see real change coming. I know that it's not going to be easy given the power structure in place. I just hope enough people care, pay attention to the issues that matter to them, and then do something themselves to make it happen. It won't be easy. The primary system seems like it could be improved with it not being such a long drawn out season, maybe a series of regional primaries that rotate who goes first. It has been unfair that Iowa and New Hampshire seemed to have so much power and just because it's been that way, doesn't mean it has to stay. It takes the political system being cleaned up but to do that voters have to be informed, not let themselves be fooled and keep their focus on what they want to see happen

  6. Winston & Hattie: Thanks for bringing the label spelling error of Obama's first name to my attention which I've now corrected. "Barack" is spelled correctly in the blog article (as you noted)-- just as it is spelled at his official web site. I simply erred when typing the label link.

    Winston: I'm saying the rules -- in these recent instances in Michigan and Florida -- failed. I believe the rules failed because they prevented voters from receiving a ballot with major political party candidates listed.

    (The General Election occurs on the same date in every State so voters are not subjected to these same primary election vagaries.)

    I think the primary election voters were held hostage to a political battle between elected Florida legislators/governing officials and the political officials of an opposing party -- basically caused by efforts to change a primary election date which resulted in a power struggle.

    Michigan's primary election date change precipitated their problem, also, with some differing circumstances.

    Candidates were on again off again about campaigning in those States, or not -- putting their name on the ballot, or not. They were probably frustrated and so were voters. I say the rules were inadequate. The rules should insure that in the final analysis, the voters will have the major candidates names on their ballot.

    I don't care who the candidates were, I just think the game playing between political parties, and each individual state's politicians maneuvering for "position" in the "early results reporting competition" served only to cheat the voters -- and the candidates.

    Once the smoke cleared between both parties, precedence should have been given to getting names on the ballot to be certain a meaningful election would occur. The rules apparently did not allow that. Surely rules should be designed to insure voters are provided a meaningful primary election.

    If any candidate's serious, they should put their name on every State's ballot, campaign in the States in which they want to do so. Voters deserve this respect. Voters shouldn't have to worry about whether or not they'll get to vote, have a choice of the major candidates, much less have their vote counted in primary elections.

    I also resent that Independents are sometimes allowed to vote on one or another political party ticket in a primary election, and other times not. Maybe this is a problem unique to California. Perhaps when this country had a significantly different populace number than we have now, each political party allowing only their members to vote made sense, but I think that's presently an outdated rule.

    I'm just sick to death of the political game playing, using rules for power manipulations, no final rule provisions for the voters best interests. The very least that can be done is change those rules for the future so the voter doesn[t keep getting the short end of the stick.

    Hattie: I certainly agree that inclusion of all groups of people, not division, should be our focus.

    Pattie: I sure know what you mean about feeling jaded, voting seeming like a ritual, as I've sometimes wondered if voting even matters. I'm convinced all who feel this way are the very people whose votes en masse might finally put us on a road to change so many of us believe this country needs.

    rain: That's an interesting idea about rotating regional primaries -- not so individual-state oriented. (Have you considered running for political office?) We need to promote that idea around the country. We could get away from that "me first" political game maneuvering. Candidates, political parties and voters could then concentrate on resolving the actual problem issues facing our country.
    A little change never hurt anybody -- sometimes even major change is desirable.

  7. For the first time in a long time I am hopeful JoAnn. I have been very jaded Patty...for far too long. I honestly didn't know if I would ever feel hope again. I truly do feel there a whole lot of people who feel just as I do...and are hopeful for the change we so need. This has been a difficult primary...and we're all sick of the game playing and manipulation. I just want our candidates to stick to the issues....I think we deserve that now.

  8. Joy: Yeah, the game playing and manipulation goes on, but if we want it to change, I'm convinced we need to make political party officials, politicians and government officials aware we expect these "rules" adjusted for the voters.

    Rain has the best idea I've read anywhere about rotating regional primary voting.