Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is this Any Way to Elect a President?

This week is Michigan’s primary and over the past few days we’ve had our share of annoying TV and radio ads, slick mail ads, robo calls, phone polls, sound bites and all the proofs and promises of their conservative leanings—including criticism for GM and Chrysler’s 2008 bailout.  Imagine such patter in the automaker state!

Last week Santorum was poised to pull off an upset here, which could plunge the GOP nomination process into “chaos.”  Over the weekend, Mitt “Let Detroit go bankrupt” Romney picked up in the polls and now he may win this much-needed primary in his home state by a small margin.  His lead may be scotched, however, by Democratic and Santorum mischief making.

Many Democrats are planning to vote for Santorum because they believe a match up between him and Obama would deliver a sure win to the Dems in November. 

Other Democrats refuse to play this game fearing the possibility of a Santorum win of the nomination and the presidency. 

Democrats here are allowed to participate in the Republican primary because voters don’t have to declare their party affiliation.  That rule went by the wayside a couple decades ago so that now the only requirement is for voters to indicate whether they will vote in the Republican or the Democratic primary.

The official position of the Michigan Democratic Party is that people should not vote in the GOP primary.  The Kalamazoo County Democrats are mum on this, although many people have been talking to each other about doing the dirty deed.

Joe DiSano, long-time veteran of Michigan politics, blatantly encouraged Democrats to vote for Santorum in an editorial last week in order to “embarrass” Romney

Former Governor John Engler, a Republican, on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos said the UAW is encouraging its members to vote for Santorum, too.  Both he and current Governor Rick Snyder are backing Romney.

Then there’s the Rick Santorum for President Campaign.  It sent a robo call on Monday morning asking Democrats to vote for Santorum because Romney was in favor of bailing out Wall Street Bankers but not the auto industry.  

In the afternoon the Red, White and Blue Fund pointed out Romney's flip flop on abortion. 

A lot of money is being spent here, too.  Romney and Restore our Future have spent $3.2 million while Santorum and the Red White and Blue Fund have spent $1.1 million.  Romney came to Kalamazoo last Friday and Santorum will visit on Monday night.

Despite all of these efforts, the election is likely to pull only a small percentage of voters to the polls.  Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow expects only a 20 to 30 percent turnout in this county that has a huge Republican population and a big pro-life contingent.

The primary process has me baffled.  Is it really working as it was intended?

Do the parties really want non-party members deciding their candidates? 

Do the parties want only a small, vocal sliver of their members selecting their candidate to the consternation of the majority, which is Romney’s major problem. 

Do voters get an authentic vetting of the candidates for all the money spent?

The primary process began on a nationwide scale about 100 years ago after the Progressives sought to measure and make transparent the popular opinion of candidates rather than have party bosses control delegates and the national convention.  The 1968 Democratic National Convention really enhanced it as leaders wrote more detailed rules to assure more participation from the delegates.  Many states chose the presidential primary as an easier way to follow those rules and the Republicans eventually followed suit. 

Given where we’ve come in this process today, there’s got to be a better way for parties to nominate their candidates!

1 comment:

  1. All good points which lead to the question how is the nation served by the perpetual election. Wasted time, money and energy that more and more keeps anything meaningful from getting done.