29 December 2011

What Did You Expect from the GOP

Terry Jeffrey, complaining about the Virginia Primary:

He would like to see the Virginia law changed so that it strikes a balance between keeping frivolous candidates off the ballot and allowing all serious candidates access.
I would loosen it further: Let anybody on the primary ballot who meets the constitutional qualifications for president. Let voters decide whom they want their party to nominate.
Virginia's current system is designed to take power away from voters and give it to party bosses and establishment candidates who can raise massive amounts of money early in a campaign. It is wrong.

Sweet Reagan but this is na├»ve.  Political nominations have always been decided by party bosses.  The idea that political parties even care about democracy or giving power to the people is simply absurd.  Political parties exist for one reason, and one reason only:  to gain political power.  The belief that anyone in a political party is going to represent the wishes of the people they claim to represent is just hilarious.

At least Terry has now recognized that representative democracy in the united states is nothing more than well-orchestrated sham.  Hopefully others will follow suit.


  1. More importantly, who owns the party?

    A political party is a club. Only club members should have a say in the club's leadership. Most political primaries are open to everyone. So you don't just have the club members voting to select their candidate. You also have their political opponents voting and people who just don't care casting spoiler votes.

    Ideally, primaries should be limited to club members, as determined by the club, not as determined by the state. I would go even further that registered party members are not enough either. There needs to be some way for the party voter to demonstrate his loyalty to the party. Either there is some way to force the person who votes in the primary to support that same candidate in the general election or force the voter to pay a fee (which goes into the candidate's fund) when he votes in the primary.

    Otherwise, especially in years when the incumbent is running unopposed in his primary, his party members vote for the weakest candidate in the other party's primary. This creates the impression that the Republican party really is just a weaker, stupider liberal party.

  2. @Prof. Hale- I agree that political parties should set the rules for their primary. It is entirely up to the party to determine who represents it, and how that representation is determined. This seems like a logical way of handling this issue, which is why it will never happen.

    As to the primary rules, I can see the arguments for both an open and a closed primary. You do want a candidate with broad cross-party appeal (though this is open to sabotage) but you also want a candidate that the party base strongly supports (which leads to a very strong self-reinforcement effect). I can't say that I have an answer for which one's better.

    Of course, the presumable reason for having state laws for primary ballots is to cut down on cheating. However, the question that isn't being asked is: why should the state be trusted to regulate politics when it obviously has a vested interest in it?