I got a postcard from my county auditor, saying that I should read… - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
I got a postcard from my county auditor, saying that I should read the directions when the mail-in primary ballots get to me, because they're complicated.
Turns out, Washington's doing both a primary and a caucus. Because, sure, why not? A mail in primary, I can get behind that, I guess. Not a lot of rigmarole, pomp, or circumstance. Just get the job done, thanks. So, wait, what's the value of the caucus, then?
Oh, it turns out that the Republicans are basing 51% of their delegates on the primary and 49% on the primary. Ok, that's... weird, but fine. And the Democrats... 100% on the caucus, and the primary seems to be a waste of everybody's time and money as near as I can tell.
Speaking of things that the parties are doing that infuriate me: many of the Republican candidates are being accused of disenfranchising the poor by suggesting we require government issued IDs for voters. I can understand that not everybody has a driver's license, but I'm not convinced that a photo ID is an unreasonable requirement. If vampires were disproportionately poor, or disproportionately Democrat, I could see some valid complaints about photo IDs, but if anything, they live in opulent castles, feeding on the misery of others. Doesn't sound like the Democratic Party platform.
However, the news has been full of reporting that Florida Democrats don't get a primary this year because the national parties disagree with Florida's decision to move their primary date forward. So, Florida thinks that it's not getting enough attention in presidential politics (ahem, where have they been for the past several elections?) and they attempt to get a more fair position, and in so doing, they lose their representation? How is that not disenfranchisement of an entire state? I guess that because it's Democrats cheating Democrats out of votes, it's OK.
The Ds sandbagged Michigan and Florida for jumping the 2/5 deadline. The Rs did too, but slightly less so; they reduced the delegate count rather than decertifying the state delegations altogether.
All this is by way of pacifying Iowa and New Hampshire and preserving their "first in the nation" status. Why this is the case, I don't know; both states are reliably conservative in most things and why the Ds would stake themselves to such a candidate is...well, I suppose if you're still practicing the DLC model from the late 80s, making sure your guy plays in the sticks is important, but in the modern era it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
The whole ID issue is a much bigger deal down South - there are certain states that are covered by VRA until Cthulu wakes from his sleep and Cloverfields us all, and in those states, any additional requirements for voting have to be vetted by the Justice Department to materially prove that they cannot be used to diminish minority voting. Needless to say, said proof cannot be offered in, say, Alabama, so glug glug glug and down the plug.
I would be a lot more het up about that sort of thing if there were substantive cases of voter fraud as a result of non-ID voting, but so far the body of evidence is limited to friend-of-a-friend anecdotes and the occasional wails of somebody who missed it by >that< much when the polls had them ahead. (Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, but I have a tough time believing every case of poll-to-vote disparity since 2000 is related to vote-rigging.)
The ironic thing is that if you wanted to require ID, you'd have to do some sort of national certification for valid ID, which is exactly the sort of thing that makes Montana Freemen shiver and shake uncontrollably in their long drawz with Hillary on the back flap. Ultimately I think there are too many contradictory impulses at work to make something like that function - and assuming the Ds win the election in November, the Rs will rapidly discover their hatred of government interference and unwarranted data mining.
And I think Vampires are absolutely a Democratic voting bloc. Look at the evidence: mostly of Slavic extraction, a solid urban ethnic vote for the Ds in the colder parts of the Midwest. Subsist on human blood, which means they need healthy victims; thus more likely to support universal health care. Summon bats and wolves, which require habitat to live in; thus opposed to increased development on public lands. Live in expensive castles, no doubt with ridiculous mortgages that becomes problematic with the collapse of subprime lending and the resulting puree of interest rates; thus desirous of financial stability and a less reactive mode of monetary policy. QED.
I can understand the concern about national IDs, and I totally agree that in the absence of evidence of people actually fraudulently voting, we shouldn't institute extra requirements for the voting process.
However, I was listening to Howard Dean being interviewed on the radio just recently, and he casually dropped a comment about the Republicans trying to disenfranchise the poor, which the interviewer didn't call him on - I don't believe that there's any desire to take the vote away from any registered voter.
But then when there's coverage about states that decided they wanted as much primary attention as other states (seems fair), the journalists report that the parties take delegates away from the states without any sort of discussion of why it's OK for some voters to get disproportionate representation, and some voters to get no representation at all.
Somebody needs to break the power of Iowa and Hew Hampshire - it's not as if there's some long-sanctified process up there; in fact, the whole notion of the primaries as the dispositive method of candidate selection is barely 36 years old, and is wholly attributable to the fiasco in 1968 that followed the shooting of Bobby Kennedy and the inexplicable nomination of the original Triple H, Hubert
Horatio Hornblower Humphrey. In fact, the only candidates I can think of who successfully made their campaigns based off Iowa results were Jimmy Carter and John Kerry, while the only ones who rode New Hampshire to victory were...um...Bill Clinton, who didn't even win there but spun a 2nd place finish into the whole "Comeback Kid" theme.
The first primaries should only be about winnowing the field, and the right to take the first cut should probably be passed around quite a bit more. Had California gone first, I suspect you'd be seeing a dogfight between McCain and Rudy for the Rs, because Huckabee would last in California about as long as it took him to realize there's not a Chick Fil A closer than Vacaville.
As for Dean, well, I like him well enough, and the idea of actually punching back is a fairly novel thing for the Ds, so I guess he can take his shot. It may even be true - and let's face it, in Alabama, there's a longstanding tradition of winning elections in the rules and procedures rather than the ballot box. However, I am torn between lamenting the Southernization of national politics and trying not to oversell it, and while I'm sure that voter-ID rules wouldn't make whoever replaced Ed Gillespie weep hot tears of anguish, I doubt there's an active 50-state campaign to make it happen - especially since it would have to be fought on a state-by-state basis, and the GOP's been hemmorhaging state-level support for a couple of years (state-level elections are the canary in the coal mine for national politics, because that's where your single-A prospects start coming up...)
Dammit, you're taking all my blog content. You're fined $50 Confederate. ;]
I'm down with the Ds saying "These are the rules"
I guess where I am right now is that presidential politics seems far too important to be trusted to the parties.
Am I crazy, or wouldn't we be better off if all the candidates and all the states were held to the same set of standards?