Saturday, October 20, 2007

OK. You have to deal with about two more political posts before next year. Here is number one.
I hate, hate, hate the election system here in Louisiana. We have open primaries, which means you can vote for any candidate, regardless of what party you are affiliated with. It sucks. Let me tell you why.

  • Candidates can win elections without having to go through a general election. If a candidate receives 50% plus one vote, they can win the whole election. That happened tonight in the governor's race. While the guy who won will probably be good for the state - and probably would have won the runoff anyway, I would have liked to see what a democrat could have done against him in a short, intense (4 week) campaign.
  • It is entirely possible to have no choice but to vote for candidates in only one party in the primary. In my state house district, all three candidates were Republicans. That isn't surpirsing, considering my district is made up of rich folks and college students (plus a few middle class single folk who also inhabit the apartments).
I'm generally pretty bipartisan. I have no problem voting for a Republican if he or she is truly the best candidate. But I want to have a choice. I don't want to feel forced into a particular party. I don't want a candidate to have a cakewalk and to be able to be elected while skipping out on 3/4 of the debates and candidate forums that have been held, which is exactly what happened in the governor's race tonight.

I do believe that the Governor-elect will probably do a good job, despite some things that he said that made me really nevous. I don't support about half of what he says, but I do support the other half. He is a bit too close to being close to the Christian Right for my tastes, despite being Catholic (though Catholics here do tend to align more closely to Evangelicals than they did in Pennsylvania. In fact, quite of few of them here - at least in the deanery I live in - are Republican, which is unusual). But he really wasn't challenged.

Of course, part of that is the fault of the electorate. People have been saying for months that Jindal would probably win outright, so people asked why should I bother voting for anyone else. People didn't call him on the fact that he only showed up for three out of 15 debates or forums across the state, which is one of the things that put me off him. And there was a really low voter turn out for such an important election (only about 40% - though my precinct had hit that by 2:30 when I voted). I can promise you that if they did a party analysis of those voters and compared them to the list of all registered voters, a higher percentage of Republican voters voted. The apathy of the Democrats in this state is sad.

But part of it is the system here. It is too easy for one party to have a monopoly and to, in effect, buy an election. The Republican Party has far more money and far more power than any other in the state. That played a factor.

For as obsessed as the people in this state are with politics (It's right up there with God and football), you would think that more people would start to wonder we're stuck with this system. And you would think with all the bitching people do about how screwed up this state is, they would be embracing candidates who are talking about reform, rather than the same-old, same-old, which never gets accomplished anyway.



James H said...

You will be glad to know that at least as to Federal elections(COngress) we shall be returning to a closed primary system starting next year.

This has caused some concerns in Democrat circles because of the racial dynamics of the Democrat vote. IE= Cleo Field could run and in a light turn out Dem election could beat a Mary Landrieu perhaps

That being said how this developed is quite interesting. You can thank Former Gov Edwin Edwards for this system. Back in the 70's the state GOP was becoming a real sort of nuisance to dmeocrats. WHile Democrats would win the general election the GOP folks would decide on one person save their money and be well financed for the General election. All the Democrats spent money like mad and were killing each other in their primary. Short term the open primary worked for the dems but there is a line of thinking that putting the GOP in a open primary system actually helped it grow because of early exposure

Sheryl said...

Thanks for the info - that's really interesting. I didn't know the history behind the whole thing, since I'm a transplant.

I will always find it funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) how political machinations often seem to eventually hurt the party that pushed hard for them in the first place.

Personally, I think I should just be appointed ruler of the free world, so that everything can just bow to my whims.

Just kidding.

I want to be ruler of the non-free world, too.

It has been way too long a day. I need a nap.