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How To Run A National Primary

First off, we settled that “states” thing in 1865. You make it a national primary, not a lot of separate state primaries or caucuses or straw votes.

You limit voting to registered members of the party. Independents have obviously demonstrated that they have no interest in political parties, so why should political parties have an interest in what they think about the party’s candidate.

Every registered member of the party is mailed a ballot containing the names of every candidate. Candidates have to be members in good standing of the party, and file a fee to run. The fees will cover the cost of the mailing.

Everyone receives the same ballot with a prepaid return envelope. In front of each name are circles to be filled in indicating a first, second and third choice. The ballots are then mailed back to a counting center.

Candidates get 3 points for a first choice, 2 points for a second choice, and 1 point for a third choice. The candidate with the most points wins.

Every Democrat has exactly as much say as every other Democrat in the process. There is no problem with state laws or parties. There is little possibility of weather affecting anything. The choice will absolutely be the choice of the entire party.

It is simple, straightforward, relatively inexpensive, and unites the party in the decision process. There is no reason for the current operatic process that is used, and no evidence that it produces a “better candidate.”


1 fallenmonk { 02.11.08 at 8:55 pm }

I like it!. It makes a hell of lot more sense that the screwed up cluster f**k we have now.

2 andante { 02.11.08 at 9:03 pm }

Suits me.

The ‘super delegate’ buisness stinks. Reminds me of the Electoral College, only maybe more stupid.

If Independents feel moved to vote for a certain candidate, let them sign on to that party.

3 Bryan { 02.11.08 at 9:29 pm }

The current system is front-loaded with conservative states that have open or semi-open primaries. The people you would like to vote for have to withdraw before you get a chance to vote because they can’t afford to stay in.

There is too much money and not enough voters involved the current process. The caucuses are definitely not a democratic way of selecting candidates.

“Cheaper, faster, better” – that’s the goal of every system.

4 Michael { 02.11.08 at 9:41 pm }

I’d like to see the bar for candidacy set a little higher than simply being a member of the party and filing a fee: otherwise, we’re going to be hip-deep in no-names who have no chance. Maybe some kind of endorsement requirement–but instead of “celebrities,” the endorsements have to come from precinct or state committee chairs. That way you’d have people on the ballot who had some hope of making it work in at least a few states.

We could do the same for independents. Anybody that isn’t affiliated with a party, or who wants to run as an independent, can file with the FEC, pay a slightly higher fee, and has to rack up more endorsements. Then anybody who chooses not to ask for a partisan ballot (of whatever flavor) can ask for an “independent” ballot. We might get a few good candidates that way, too.

5 21 Stories to Read at Florida Progressive Coalition Blog { 02.11.08 at 10:02 pm }

[…] Presidential Election: Truman’s Conscience – Tracking Florida’s Superdelegates, Why Now? – How To Run A National Primary, Broward’s Blog – The Delegate Mess, Pushing Rope – […]

6 Bryan { 02.11.08 at 10:03 pm }

The filing fee would have to be substantial to cover the mailing and processing, and the individual would have to meet the Constitutional requirements for the office. As it stands now there will be at least a dozen names on my ballot for President in November with the requirements of the state of Florida, which require filing petitions signed by registered voters.

Who cares how many want to run? Only serious candidates will get the votes. I don’t want to spend time or money on primaries, I want to concentrate both on the real election.

Independents have to file with individual states, there is no Federal role in getting names on the ballot. State parties still have to get the name of the party’s candidate on the ballot in each individual state in accordance with the laws of that state.

My sole concern is the process the party uses to select that candidate.

7 Frederick { 02.12.08 at 12:54 pm }

At first I was going to rail against this idea, even though I love the version of preferential voting you use. but then I realized that by allowing only Party members to vote that would strengthen Third parties and give rise to ever more Independent candidates. That in my mind is a good thing. At this point the only thing I think could be done to salvage our Democracy is to weaken the two sides of the Corporate party until their deaths.

8 Bryan { 02.12.08 at 4:28 pm }

It is time for people to decide what they what to do. I’m not certain that Ralph Nader has ever bothered to register as a Green, but he gets selected. You have the distorted process in New York where the same candidate appears on the ballot lines of other parties, without providing anything to those parties that wouldn’t result in a grand jury investigation.

Let’s have real parties, or just scrap the whole idea.

This is about a party primary, and participation should be limited to the party.

Frankly I wish we had a real progressive party and some place for the Christianists to call home. We need a warmongers party and corporatists party: labels that have real political meaning that doesn’t change with every new fad.

9 Badtux { 02.12.08 at 6:13 pm }

Well now, there’s a problem here, that old “freedom of association” thingy written into the Constitution. Parties have a legal right to determine what candidate they’re going to put forward for the general election in any manner they desire. Legally speaking, no government has the right to *tell* a political party that they have to select their candidate on a certain date using a certain methodology. The most that a government has the right to do is say that, *if* public funds are to be used to hold the primary, *then* the government can set the rules for how the primary is done.

Caucus states are states where the government isn’t funding a primary, which is why the rules in caucus states are even more screwed up than the rules in primary states. If a law was passed saying all parties had to have their primary on a certain day if they received any government funding for the primary, the parties could very well say “fine, we won’t participate in your primaries”, fold up their tents, and hold caucuses instead. And the Constitution says there isn’t a thing that could be done about it if they decided to do so.

BTW, I disagree with your contention that the Democrats in Florida should not be punished for the early primary. The Florida Democratic Party could have told the Republican Party, “fine, you hold your primary on December 7, but we’re gonna hold our caucus on March 15 to decide who gets delegates to the national convention.” The state can’t *force* the party to participate in a primary. The most the state can do is say, “*if* you’re going to accept public funding for a primary, here’s the date it’s going to happen on.” The party has every legal right to say “fine, you can stuff your primary up your butthole” and go off and hold a caucus instead. But the Florida Democratic Party didn’t do that… they just went ahead with their too-early primary and made no plans for a caucus to pick actual real delegates to the convention. Oh well. Because the Democratic Party is a voluntary association that determines its own rules for membership, not a government body, they have every legal right to decide “we won’t accept delegates from Florida”, no matter how much it irritates Florida Democrats…

10 Bryan { 02.12.08 at 6:55 pm }

Badtux, the US Postal Service is the only government agency involved. I’m talking about party rules, not laws. This is what the party should do to select the nominee of the party. The current fractured system is what allows non-members of the party to involve themselves in the party process.

It is also a party rule that requires the Democratic Party of Florida to participate in the Florida primary, and those rules can only be changed at the scheduled party convention. There is no time to do anything between the state convention and the national convention, so Florida voters can’t hold a vote or caucus or anything else. They are just disenfranchised by the Republicans with the assistance of the DNC. If changing rules was so easy, the DNC could have avoided this problem, but they can’t change their rules until the national convention and Florida can’t change theirs until the state convention. If there was an easy solution, there wouldn’t be a problem.

The DNC has a legal right to do what they want, and voters in Florida have the right not to contribute money, time, or votes to the Democratic Party, which is exactly what a lot of people, like myself, have decided to do.

11 hipparchia { 02.12.08 at 11:00 pm }

open primaries have always struck me as stupid; why would you let members of the opposing party have a say in who your party’s candidate is going to be?

12 Bryan { 02.12.08 at 11:53 pm }

Exactly so, and there were Democrats who were doing it to the Republicans in a couple of states. It’s nonsense. The parties should run their own primary elections.

13 Democracy Inaction — Why Now? { 02.19.08 at 6:42 pm }

[…] of Democrats who supported someone other than the two front-runners, but we don’t. I have offered an solution to the problem, but it won’t be taken seriously because it doesn’t provide any leeway […]