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Primaries vs. Elections; Let’s Be Consistent

Posted by cann0nba11 on April 9, 2008

We are all aware of the laws that prevent the media from releasing voting results before the polls close. The reason is the fear that voters will remain home if they learn that their candidate is losing by a large margin; or they might stay home if their candidate has a large lead. “Why should I take a long lunch / go out in this rain / leave the comfort of home to stand in line if my candidate is winning/losing by so much already?”

I think this is a great law. It keeps the press out of our hair for a short (albeit sweet) amount of time. It lets voters vote without worry. Exit polls may provide some influence, but in my experience most people don’t value exit poll results.

Why can’t we expand this concept across a much larger timeframe? I’m talking about during the primary process. But not just one day’s worth or one state’s worth. I’m talking about the entire primary process. Here’s my idea:

Let’s not release the results until the actual party conventions.

Why is this a good idea?

  1. Each party member in each state will be allowed to vote for the candidate they want as opposed to having to choose from only the remaining candidates as dictated by previous primaries. In other words you will be able to vote for the person that best represents your values, not just for the one that pisses you off the least. For example: I’m in Texas and I’m a Mitt Romney supporter. Thanks to the current system by the time I got the chance to vote my candidate wasn’t even on the ballot. I don’t think that’s fair.
  2. By not knowing who is leading the delegate count each candidate will be forced to campaign continuously and spend their money wisely if they want it to last. Hmm… that sounds like something most Americans have to do every month.
  3. The financial difficulty of entering a long and expensive race will certainly deter and potentially weed out candidates that currently join the races for ego and/or local popularity reasons. Politicians will think twice about entering the campaign if its going to cost them so much. A pleasant side effect of this would be the much celebrated death of the ten candidate primary ‘debate’ circus that we all had to endure.
  4. The national party conventions will actually mean something.
  5. The media will be forced to cover other issues because they won’t know who is actually winning and won’t have a singular candidate to prop up and promote.

Of course, the easier thing to do would be to move to a single national primary day and stop all of this ridiculous state posturing and jockeying for position. I think it is incredibly unfair that states far away from where I live have predetermined who I can vote for, especially given the differences between the issues I face in Texas on a day to day basis versus whatever is going on in Iowa, Ohio or New Hampshire.

A national primary day just makes sense.

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