Posts tagged ‘Primary Elections’


Debates Are Useful Campaign Tools

The Republican presidential hopefuls conducted 20 so-called “debates,” during a 10-month period, from May 2011 through March 2012, at which conservative audiences were treated to right-wing presentations as to economic, social, and foreign policy. They were usually staged in early primary states, as they held 3 in Iowa, 4 in New Hampshire, 4 in South Carolina, 4 in Florida, and 1 each in Nevada, Michigan, Arizona, Calf, and Wash. DC.

While some complained the 20 events were not really “debates,” but rather forums, where candidates simply said whatever they wanted on various topics, they were nonetheless much better than any other form of campaigning, such as TV ads, which tend to deceive, and provide very little in terms of honest information.

A formal debate begins with a “resolution” which affirmatively states an idea, such as: “U.S. Senators should be limited to no more than three terms, of six years each.” Two or perhaps three on each side of the issue then alternate presenting affirmative and negative positions, followed by rebuttals, each limited by time. The questions raised are answered by facts presented by each side.

In recent times, formal debates have not been a part of American politics, but they certainly could gain followers, if they were aired on Cable TV. There is a hunger in America, not for more talking heads of the sort found on the Fox Propaganda Network, but for well-reasoned and researched arguments, based on facts, so all of us can collectively reach a consensus on public policy questions.

Since no Democratic counterpoint was presented during the 20 GOP debates, there were times when it was very difficult to listen, but the Republicans nevertheless did the right thing by hosting them, so we could at least try to understand right-wing thinking.

Since the debates remain the best way to obtain unfiltered views as to the candidates, they continue to be a useful campaign tool.


Republican Primary Doesn’t Matter

During the Wisconsin Presidential Primary next week, Republican voters will be asked to choose between Romney, Gingrich, Ron Paul and Santorum, but their selection will make little difference in the long run, for even if their nominee prevails in November, in the final analysis, their candidate will not be able to make any change without the help of the House, Senate, and Supreme Court.

For those who “vote for the man,” because they naively believe one person can single-handedly change the way things are, they have an awful lot to learn about party politics. What matters is not an individual win, but rather a victory by an entire political party. Real and significant change in America only occurs if the same party controls the House, 60% of the Senate (to block filibusters), the White House, and at least five Supreme Court seats.

Unless voters want divided and paralyzed governments, there is no rational reason to split tickets between Republicans and Democrats, by picking one party’s nominee for this office, and another party’s choice for that. Although many voters dislike both parties, one or the other is going to win and gain control, so it makes sense to learn their differences, and vote along party lines.

No matter who the Republicans nominate for President, if the conservatives continue to control the House, they will put their agenda to their leader, (not the other way around), and he will be expected to approve of it, whether it is Romney, Santorum, Paul, or Gingrich. The Presidency is much weaker than most realize.

When Obama became President, a Democratic Congress handed him legislative measures, during his first two years, like the health care bill, and he had no choice but to approve of it. If he had not, his own party would have turned on him. Although Obama wanted to close Guantanamo, Congress pulled the purse strings for that pledge, and consequently, the prison remains open, regardless of the President’s wishes, or his campaign promises.

If Romney becomes President, and has an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, you better believe the entire Republican Party, including Bachmann, Santorum, and a whole host of right-wing fundamentalist ministers will be looking over his shoulder. One man in Washington DC simply has no power to do anything.

If you think you can change the basic two-party system, you have a boatload of work to do. The existing parties not only select nominees through caucuses and primaries, they draft platforms stating goals, but most importantly provide networks of volunteers locally to register voters, and make sure they vote on Election Day. Third-party candidates trying to operate outside one of the two major parties would find it extremely difficult to organize, without the help of the thousands who already share a party label.

While it is true George Washington, a Federalist, was first elected as an individual, Thomas Jefferson soon founded an opposition party, even though the Constitution did not mention their use, and for over 200 years, they have been an integral part of our system.

The head of political party, i.e. the President, or presidential candidate of the other party, matters far less than Congressional control. If you want to see change, the question is not who will win the upcoming Wisconsin Republican Presidential Primary; the important question is: After the 2012 election, which of the two major political parties will control the Congress?


Presidential Primaries: Get Organized

The individual U.S. states need to work together to implement a comprehensive presidential primary schedule, because the current system is disorganized and unfair to certain voters and candidates.

First, the primary season should be limited to 13 weeks in the year of the general election, beginning in Feb. and ending in May.

Second, all states should adopt the same day of the week for their caucus or primary, such as a Tuesday.

Third, the schedule should maximize the involvement of as many states as possible. Iowa and New Hampshire should not have an exclusive first caucus or primary, as it gives them too much influence and often allows them to choose the candidates. Conversely, the big states should not be first, since they are too large and expensive for retail politics and the purpose of a primary is to test a candidate in relatively small forum. If the largest states went first, primaries would not be needed anywhere else.

To solve the problem, the process should schedule four to five small states, on each of the first six primary dates, so no one of them gains too much influence. On the date of the Iowa caucus, for example, four additional small states should have primaries, so there would be five contests, and none could become dominant.

I propose a system in which the 27 smallest states participate in six regional primaries, the 12 next largest states enter one of six north-south sectional contests, and the 11 largest states would enlist in the final elections, to be known as the Final Four.

Each regional would have roughly the same aggregate delegate count. Since the regional contests would determine only 26% of the convention delegates, candidates could not lock up an early nomination. They would then advance to the six sectionals, where the next 12 largest states would be paired north and south to test the candidate’s national appeal. Each sectional would have roughly the same number of delegates. The nomination could not be determined in the sectionals, since only 23.5% of the delegates would be up for grabs. In the Final Four, the 11 largest states would vote and would apportion the remaining 270 delegates (50.5%) and would nominate the candidates.



(27 smallest states, less than 10 electors each)

Feb. 7, 2012: IOWA REGIONAL (5 states and 23 delegates) Iowa (6), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), Kansas (6), Nebraska (5)

Feb. 14, 2012: NEW HAMPSHIRE REGIONAL (5 states and 22 delegates): New Hampshire (4), Vermont (3), Rhode Island (4), Maine (4), Connecticut (7)

Feb. 21, 2012: SOUTH CAROLINA REGIONAL (4 states and 25 delegates): South Carolina (9), Kentucky (8), West Virginia (5), Delaware (3)

Feb. 28, 2012: WESTERN REGIONAL (5 states and 24 delegates): Oregon (7), Idaho (4), Nevada (6) Hawaii (4), Alaska (3)

March 6, 2012: SOUTHWEST REGIONAL (4 states and 24 delegates): Arkansas (6), Mississippi (6), Oklahoma (7), New Mexico (5)

March 13, 2012: MOUNTAIN REGIONAL (4 states and 21 delegates): Colorado (9), Utah (6), Montana (3), Wyo. (3)

139 delegates or 26% of total at stake in regionals


(12 states in 6 North-South match-ups)

March 20, 2012: WISCONSIN—VIRGINIA (2 states and 23 delegates): Wisconsin (10), Virginia (13)

March 27, 2012: MASSACHUSETTS—ALABAMA (2 states and 20 delegates): Massachusetts (11), Alabama (9)

April 3, 2012: MINNESOTA—TENNESSEE (2 states and 21 delegates): Minnesota (10), Tennessee (11)

April 10, 2012: INDIANA–LOUISIANA  (2 states and 19 delegates): Indiana (11), Louisiana (8)

April 17, 2012: MARYLAND—MISSOURI (2 states and 20 delegates): Maryland (10), Missouri (10)

April 24, 2012: WASHINGTON—ARIZONA (2 states and 23 delegates): Washington (12), Arizona (11)

126 delegates or 23.5% of total at stake in sectionals


(11 largest states with 270 delegates (50.5%) put candidates over top and determine nominations)

May 1, 2012: EASTERN FINAL (3 states, 63 delegates): New York (29), Pennsylvania (20), New Jersey (14)

May 1, 2012: SOUTHERN FINAL (3 states with 60 delegates): Florida (29), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15)

May 1, 2012: MIDWESTERN FINAL (3 states with 54 delegates) : Illinois (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16)

May 1, 2012: SOUTH-WESTERN FINAL (2 states with 93 delegates): California (55), Texas (38)

270 delegates or 50.5% of total at stake in Final Four