All The Chips and No Salsa Anywhere…

Today is January 8th… you know what’s important about today?  New Hampshire has it’s Presidential primary in a couple hours.  Now, were you to ask me without the pretext of political discussion, I would tell you that I think the primaries are really just a formality for the ordinary voters to feel important while the National Parties decide who we will vote for in November…  After all, there is no “U” in “team” (pardon the pun).  I understand that participation in the process is important… and once Missouri gets around to hosting it’s primary after half the field of contenders has been obliterated by the political process, I do fully intend on voting.  By the same token, I gotta ask how outdated the specific mechanics of the system are.  There are plenty of vestiges of the republic we once were prior to 1860 (namely, single state primaries and the electoral college), however, our pride has let us believe that we are more “advanced” evolutionally speaking, and I’m wondering if we should just give up on the whole “democratic-republic” facade all together.  For those who aren’t quite sure where I’m going with this, I’ll explain…

In the early days of our Nation, the founding fathers didn’t want to create a pure democracy (hence, the electoral college and the bicameral legislature) for the simple fact that (A) the mob is fickle and (B) pure democracy will almost always devolve into anarchy or tyranny… eventually.  Because of this, they wanted to use the good part of Democracy, and somehow work their way around the pitfalls. 

To this end, they created a republic of democracies that was known formally as “The United States of America”.  For example… did you know that when you cast a vote for President in the general election in November, you are not actually voting for that candidate?  You are actually voting for a set of delegates to be sent to the electoral college to vote for a candidate.  Another example… did you know that senators were not originally designed to be elected by the general populace?  Senators were actually selected by a vote of the State Legislatures.  Some of the facets of this “Republic-Democracy” were turned into more democratic tools (ie, in 1913 we began electing our senators directly), and some have been hanging around as a slightly defunct sideshow to the actual election (like the electoral college)… to borrow a phrase from one of my roommates, those are the “neglected, redheaded step-child in overalls” of the political process.

Now, on the one hand, you might ask why these issues might need addressing… to which my answer is that nobody actually likes to have stuff half-done.  You might wonder, “why not just let the country hang on to a bit of history?”  If we actually knew our history, that would be fine.  It is to the point that when George Dubya got elected in 2000, everybody was sure that he lost/stole the election… even though everything the man did was perfectly legal.  For some reason, everybody forgot that the Electoral College is guaging the number of states won and not necessarily the percentage of the population… and that it wasn’t the first time this had happened (it happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000).  To give a short explanation of why, it doesn’t matter if a candidate wins the state of California by 1 vote or 1 million votes, that candidate garners the number of electors granted to California by Article 2 of the Constitution… no more and no less.  Now, I think the Electoral College helped us dodge a bullet in 2000, because the thought of Al Gore being President makes me **shudder**  You see?

However, by not being a true Democratic Republic, we do ourselves a disservice by not actually deciding to be what we were or a pure democracy.  The point is that we don’t know our political history well enough to value the old system, but we are too nostalgic to do away with tradition… and when tradition makes a muck of what we thought was simple, we have no idea why things are such a muck to begin with.  Let me make another observation in this vein…

The Primary System.  Okay, I understand that we want to have a whole bunch of people run for a single party’s nomination so we have some party solidarity in the General Election… I get that.  However, the Iowa Caucuses were on January 3rd and Super Tuesday isn’t until March.  The primaries stretch on for what feels like an eternal four months.  When a couple states said they were tired of feeling like their voices didn’t count in the Primaries, they moved them forward.  Iowa and New Hampshire felt like their traditionally felt power was being attacked, they moved their primaries forward, and then the DNC punished the first states who moved their primaries forward.  Too much nostalgia for our own good, it would seem.  I mean, if the most advanced form of transportation available is a horse-drawn buggie or a steam powered engine, I can understand wanting to give candidates the power to politic in as many states as they choose… but between Television, the internet, the horseless carriage (cars, for all you “youngins”), and airplanes, it really makes no sense to have the candidates running around the country, spending millions upon millions of dollars, when every dumb thing that comes from their yap gets beamed around the country on the National Press in a matter of seconds.

 Fortunately, Mike Huckabee proved in Iowa that having the biggest wallet doesn’t make you the best candidate available. 

Really though… I gotta ask why it is so permissible to the country to allow Iowa and New Hampshire (two of the smallest states in population and land area) to make the biggest statement in an election year… especially when they don’t have the same weight in the Electoral College.  I mean, okay, New Hampshire may hold all the chips… but good luck finding a good Mexican restaurant to serve them to you… after all, it is New England…

Adam

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~ by xristosdomini on January 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “All The Chips and No Salsa Anywhere…”

  1. Brilliant punnage: you has it.

    I like hearing your take on the whole process, too. 😀

  2. teehee…

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