Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Begun, the Primary Wars have

Flashback to the 2008 Primary season: the Florida legislature--in early 2007--votes to hold the State Primary on January 29th, 2008. This move violates rules adopted by both the DNC and the RNC, ultimately resulting in   penalties from both parties. The RNC stripped Florida of half its delegates at the National Convention; the DNC initially stripped Florida of all of its delegates, then decided to give each delegate one-half of a vote (essentially cutting them in half, too).

Fast forward to today: once again, the Florida legislature is prepared to set a primary date--January 31st--that is in direct violation of DNC and RNC rules.

The reasoning behind this move is to make the Florida Primary more relevant in the nominating process. But if Florida goes through with this, other States--like Iowa and New Hampshire--will likely jump to earlier dates to stay in front.

Is Florida being an intentional pain in the ass about this? Yes, it is.

Should Florida stop rocking the boat and just stick with tradition? Probably.

But here's the thing: the DNC and the RNC are not in charge of State-sponsored primaries. They'd like to think they are, but they're not. If they decide to penalize their membership from States that violate party rules, good enough. But don't mistake their rules as some sort of real authority. The two parties utilize the resources of the States for their primaries; the States are under no obligation to allow them to do so. And other voting initiatives--actual, meaningful votes--are often on the calendar and need to take place.

And State legislatures are supposed to be serving the needs of their constituencies, of the citizens of their state, not the needs of their own political parties.

We seem to take the primary system as a given, as something that is akin to a fixed, constitutional process, like the national election day. It's not. And maybe, just maybe, it's a good thing to remind the national parties that they're not actually in charge, that the government need not bend to their will.

Cheers, all.

No comments:

Post a Comment