“As a California Primary Voter – I’m Pretty Pissed Off!”

by on May 13, 2016 · 4 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Election, History, Politics, San Diego

california map red XBy OB Joe

You know it. I’m a California Primary voter and I’m pretty pissed off!

The Primary is already over – and I haven’t even voted yet. And neither have my fellow 8 million California voters.

The candidates have been selected – yet, the largest state in the Union has not spoken.

Oh, I know, there are some who still think Bernie can get the nomination – but the real math is not there – and I’m a Bernie supporter! I observed an MSNBC breakdown of the numbers – and Sanders would have to score REAL big in all the remaining primaries – short of a miracle – it will be Hillary Clinton for the Democrats.

I really wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist – and I was among the 13,000 San Diegans who came out to support him when he was in town not too long ago. But by now, it’s been decided.

I feel totally disenfranchised and disheartened. Our California votes just don’t count. And neither do the votes in the other 4 states that have their Primaries on June 7th: New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and Montana.

Except for the candidates and propositions on the down-ballot, the Presidential Primary is a futile exercise.

It simply is just not fair. California has 39 million inhabitants. It has the 5th largest economy in the world. Yet – on the issue of who gets the different political party nominations for President – California does not count.

The entire primary system is screwed up.

We have enough problems getting people out to vote. Without them now feeling disenfranchised.

I figure close to 8 million Californians will or could vote on June 7th.  If we look at the last California Presidential Primary in June 2012 – 5,328,000 people voted, a dismal 31.1% of registered voters.

Okay, so there wasn’t too much competition on the Presidential level. So, let’s look at the California Primary of 2008. In that vote, 9,058,000 Californians voted – the largest popular vote in the state’s history. Again, however, that represented only 58% of registered voters, and clearly wasn’t the highest percentage-wise. That was in the 1980 Primary, when over 63% of registered voters did the ballot thing.

Another contested Presidential year was in 2000, when 7,883,000 Californians voted in the Primary (54% of registered voters).

By the way, that 2000 Primary was held in March, and the 2008 Primary vote was in early February.

The current California primary is just too damn late in the season. June is not soon enough – if we keep the current system.

Our state had primaries during the month of March in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2008. Why can’t we do that again?

Again, the entire national primary system needs to be reformed. And the election cycle is just too crazy long. Other countries have only a few months of electioneering – or even just a few weeks.

Why not have one month of primaries, where every Tuesday a quarter of the states vote?

The Presidential Primary and Election cycle is when we’re supposed to renew our flailing democracy, but when millions of voters are disenfranchised by the very Primary system that is supposed to help sow those seeds of democracy, then the entire Voting Structure continues to break down.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Natasha May 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Got it…the New York Times crowned Hillary Clinton months ago and either ignored or disparaged Bernie all the way.
The result (though it’s not over yet – don’t forget to work for, donate to, and vote for Bernie on June 7th-) is the two most unpopular presidential candidates in U.S. history. Meanwhile, Bernie scores higher in honesty that any candidate in U.S. history and polls show him beating Trump way better than she would.
Here’s to a brokered convention, perhaps.
And so much for our “system” of government….

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Avatar Colin May 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

It’s an odd predicament, how the earlier State Primary voting can almost decide the Party nominees well before all of the State Primaries have occurred. Sometimes this is merely by virtue of the actually popular nominee(s) who would easily win, anyway. But other times, like this year, early Primaries, especially “Super Tuesday”, can prematurely help decide a nominee in a way that reflects particular regional demographic, but is not at all predictive or determinative of future States’ Primaries. And this is significantly the case for the 2016 Democratic Party race, even if the betting odds still favor Clinton over Sanders. We should not forget, either, that the early and often determinative power of Super Tuesday is not mere happenstance, but partly by Party designs. I’ve read some journalism is this regard, that discusses this history of Super Tuesday, but cannot recall the details at the moment, though the gist certainly was the design by the Party committee to ensure the success of it’s preferred nominee over potential, usually populist, candidates.

The U.S. Party Primary system can be changed. It’s not Constitutionally proscribed, as many or most of us may remember from some day in school. What the Constitution mainly says (Article 2, Section 2, I believe) about electing the President is that there be a single national day of election wherein every State votes the same day, each State allowed to determine the method by with each chooses “Electors”, who then vote for the President. That every State, I believe, chooses “indirect election” of Electors by statewide popular voting is at the discretion of each State. (The only popular democracy designed by the Constitution is for the U.S. House (Article 1, Section 1, Clause 1), where it is written that the “People of the several States” vote for their respective State’s Representatives to the U.S. House. And it wasn’t until the 17th Amendment that statewide popular voting was mandated as method for choosing Senators from each State to the U.S. Senate. (I would add that the States’ “redistricting” into voter districts that elect particular U.S. House Reps. is not in the Constitution either, I don’t think; and in my opinion dilutes the power of popular democracy by carving up statewide voting populations instead of allowing each State’s popular vote to determine a statewide slate of U.S. Reps.) But, for election of the President, there is no popular democracy mandated by the U.S. Constitution, as far as I understand it.)

To me, the Party system is like a specially regulated, quasi-public, yet actually private, incorporated system, that inserts itself into the Constitutionally described national election day for President by holding preliminary rounds of Statewide voting for Party nominees that determines the de facto slate or choice of Presidential candidates come the Constitutional national presidential election day. Yes, of course, there are other ways to get on State ballots, by petition, I believe, and individual voters are allowed to write-in whoever they like, but the fact is that the private Party Primary system is for all intent and purpose determinative of the choices come national presidential election day.

Because the Party Primary system is not Constitutionally described, it’s entirely mutable. And since it so strongly impacts a Constitutional process, the national day of Presidential election in all the States, I believe the best solution is legislate that the Parties must allow same day Party registration coincident with a State’s Primary voting day. Since, if the States’ presidential election days are statewide popular votes for each State’s Electors, the Primary system is in effect disenfranchising that presidential election day statewide voting by holding a prelim crazy quilt Primary system that only allows statewide popular, or “open”, voting for Party nominees in some states but not others. Yes, the States’ themselves appear to be making that determination, open or closed, I don’t know, or maybe it is the State Party committees themselves who determine open or closed. But either way the point is that since the Party Primary system is not Constitutionally described it can be proscribed by legislative means, by regulating how the Parties operate, without transgressing the Constitutional mandate that each State is allowed to determine how it chooses Electors on the actual national presidential election day.

With this solution, I think that substantial redress of the Primary system can be made such that a considerable infusion of popular democracy into the Presidential election process is gained, if all political Party State Primaries must allow “open” voting. This way, popular democracy stands a better chance against early schedule “closed” Primary disenfranchisement that I think helps prematurely determine or declare “presumptive” nominees.

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Avatar Colin May 14, 2016 at 10:11 am

Also, yes, I agree, the Primary System has “colluded” with our overly corporatized major media outlets to prematurely declare Clinton the presumptive, but I do think the nominating Convention situation is still potentially in play.

Seth Abramson, an English Professor at UNH, who has been writing a bit this 2016 cycle, makes a decent case: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/11/bernie-sanders-could-still-win-democratic-nomination-no-seriously

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Avatar sloanranger May 15, 2016 at 3:53 am

It aint over till its over.

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