Monday, February 18, 2008

Primary Colors

So we have an election tomorrow, and I don’t know what to make of it.

It’s the Washington State Primary, and while there are, in some areas, other ballot measures on the list worth paying attention to, it is a bit of a wash for most of us.

It’s a bit of a wash because the Democrats already have done their delegate work with a caucus, so this is pretty much a beauty contest for them – nice, and a good way of taking the temperature of a slightly different branch of the electorate, but not really that important. It will either confirm the strong Obama support (which will be ignored in the media) or confirm the strong Clinton organizational skills (which will be covered extensively).

And on the GOP side – well, it’s a freaking disaster over there. Half the delegates were to be decided by THEIR caucuses, and half by the primary. And we HAVE a primary because years ago the far right-wing of the GOP seized controls of the caucuses and nominated someone who was, to the mainstream, unelectable (Pat Robertson, to be exact). This is why we have a primary system.

But this year, at the state GOP caucuses, the confrontation was between the anointed front-runner (McCain)and another unelectable representative of the social conservatives (Mike Huckabee). So their solution (and I wish was making this up) was to count only 87% of the votes before declaring McCain the winner.

Yeah, this is the same GOP (heck, the same individuals) who flipped out over which ballots should and should not be counted in the last governor’s race.

Word from someone in the GOP caucus was that they were as worried about Huckabee as by the Libertarian wing supporting Ron Paul - In particular RuPaul supporters that would (steady yourself for the news) LIE about their preferences in order to become delegates. Word was that most of them were too inexperienced (well, the word used was "dumb") to pull it off.

And now both sides in the primary are concerned about “mischief makers” from the other parties crossing over to vote for the weaker candidate on the other side (The Dems voting GOP would choose Huckabee, while the Republicans voting Democrat would choose – um, Mike Gravel, I guess).

So in addition to all the other vote-suppressors, the voters have to sign a loyalty oath as to party affiliation before voting, which as far as I can tell, merely puts you on that party’s mailing list (and yeah, I get a lot from the Dems ever since caucusing). And a good chunk of the voters are pretty peeved about this as well, and failing to declare an oath (and their votes are not counted - thanks for playing!)

So do I have advice in this? Not really. If you’ve got a local vote (and good luck figuring that out), go vote. If you’re die-hard Dem or Rep, go support your choice (I'm going to vote, but then, I'm ALREADY on the mailing lists). Don't make mischief, since it seems that they are more afraid from their own party than from the other side. And don’t look for anything particularly elegant or enlightening from this one.

More later,