Stop the Madness!

Am I the only one who thinks it’s insane to be starting the Presidential primary on January 3 and having the winners chosen by February 5?

If you, like me, are looking forward to a TEN MONTH presidential campaign and all that entails with utter dread, you can, as with so many other things that are just plain wrong, blame Oregon Republicans and crooked Democrats.

WARNING: History Stuff

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison founded the Democratic – Republican Party in 1792. From 1800 to 1824 its members held the White House and, for a time, more than 80% of the House and Senate seats. Democratic-Republican members of Congress selected their party’s nominee in a vote. The leaders of the opposing Federalist Party, in whose membership political appointees, bankers, lawyers and editors figured prominently, chose their nominees in the “smoke filled room” of legend. OK, OK, I realize that the Democratic – Republican Party nominee was also chosen in a smoke filled room, despite the perfunctory vote.

By the 1820s both the Federalist and Democratic – Republican Parties had splintered and reformed into other political parties. The preferred method of candidate selection became the national convention by the 1832 election. Local party bosses selected delegates to the conventions who then selected their parties’ nominees. The conventions typically took place in July or August, leaving only two or three months for the candidates to torture the voters.

Progressive era Oregon Republican reformers created the presidential preference primary in 1910 so that the state’s candidate choices (at least in theory) reflected the will of the voters, instead of the political bosses. National convention delegates were required to vote for the winners of the state primaries. This didn’t really catch on nationwide until after the chaotic 1968 Democratic Convention.

Hubert Humphrey secured his party’s nomination over opponent Eugene McCarthy in a vote many Democrats considered to be an egregious example of the will of the party machine over the will of the party voters. Of course, it could just have been another example of Democrats crying “voter fraud” because they were unhappy with the outcome of a vote. The eventual outcome is that both Democrats and Republicans adopted the current system of presidential primaries.

Most state primaries were initially held in late spring, but as states realized that earlier primary dates increased their political capital, the backwards creep — that became a headlong rush with this election – began. Many state primaries are now three to four months earlier than they were in 1972. The national convention quickly became an exercise in redundancy and a foregone conclusion. This year, the nominees will, for all intents and purposes, be selected February 5 when voters in 23 states representing the majority of the delegates, cast their ballots. That moves the presidential campaign ahead six months from 1972.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d almost welcome the return of the selection of candidates in smoke filled rooms if they’d put it off until August. The only beneficiaries of this lengthened campaign are the special interests to whom all candidates must turn for cash. Think about it. TEN MONTHS of commercials, TEN MONTHS of speeches, TEN MONTHS of parsing of commercials and speeches by the media and the pundits, TEN MONTHS of “clarification” of speeches and commercials by candidates and double speaking campaign flacks, TEN MONTHS of backbiting and backstabbing. TEN MONTHS of junk mail, TEN MONTHS of annoying campaign volunteers with “cult member” eyes coming to your door during dinner.

TEN MONTHS of everything that is wrong with Amierican Politics.

Are you nauseas yet?

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Tim – I would be sick with only 5 months. These morons are all nuts.
    It is much like the extended seasons for the NBA and baseball. It is ALL about the money.
    Nothing else matters to these incompetent morons who are sick, twisted, dishonest, cowardly, foolish, stupid, idiotic, and feeble.

  • FDR

    … to prideful, I’d add lustful, gluttonous, greedy, slothful, wrathful, and wracked by envy.

  • Jerry

    And how about silly, inept, crazy, wanton, careless, self-serving, boastful, and pathetic??

  • Jeff

    10 months? This started 10 months ago… lets try 2 years instead.


  • Bob Clark

    Maybe there’s enough demand by states to re-engineer the primaries such that primary date slots would be sold to the highest bidding state. In the re-engineering, I would like to see the primaries spread out more evenly between January and May of the election year than is occuring this election year. It would force candidates to spend more time in more states than just hitting it big in a few key states. It would give the county more time to weigh the candidates, and not get carried away by a media blitz or publicity stunt.

  • rural resident

    It seems strange that campaigns have become so much longer as communications technology has improved. Many years ago, candidates needed time to make their views known. Travel was slower and media access more limited. Yet, the primary campaigns only covered a few months.

    How did we allow the current process to evolve? First, with the internet and 24/7 cable/satellite news networks, we ought to be able to conduct the primaries in no more than eight weeks. Second, why do we invest so much power in the people of Iowa and New Hampshire — two states that are so clearly unrepresentative of the nation as a whole? It seems idiotic to me that our largest states have relatively little input. With the February 5 “Super Tuesday” block of primaries coming so early, they might have a little more say. However, it is likely that, on the basis of the results from a few hundred thousand citizens in a handful of otherwise fairly anonymous states, several viable candidates will either have dropped out or will be perceived as severely politically wounded by then, limiting the real options for the voters in those bigger states.

    One news show reported last night that candidates have spent more than $40 million on advertising in Iowa. This doesn’t include amounts spent on food, lodging, supplies, etc. to “sell” our current crop of wannabes to potential Iowa caucus goers. I wonder how much of this dragging out of the process is really being driven by the media’s desire for additional profits and the desire of pundits to feel like they are really in control?

    It’s clearly time for a change. Maybe people will become so fed up with the never ending campaigning that some big changes will come for 2012. This system clearly hasn’t — and won’t –produce the best leaders.

  • Dave A.

    I am already sick of the entire primary elections mess and non-stop talking heads. As Jeff alreasy pointed out, this nonsense started way back in spring 2007.
    And I find it amazing that major population states such as California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Texas to name a few; have such little input into who actually gets to run for President and Vice President.

  • devietro

    I know I am nuts but I love every minute of it, the truth is that politicians are always campaigning election year or not. All that is different is this year is there is more media attention on it.

  • Wayne Brady

    Actually, a 10 month campaign could be good if properly conducted.

    What if we had a 90 minute discussion on one topic once a month until the election. An in depth discussion of the important issues of the day would really show where the candidates stand and how well they can deal with difficult problem.

    The “debates” they have are totally useless.

    The problem is getting the campaigns to agree to have these in depth discussions. If you have any ideas on how to force them to do them, post them. We need a way to really learn what makes the candidates tick.

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