Tipped Hourglass - Primary Process Too SlowYesterday Betty Liu of Bloomberg TV interviewed Republican National Chair Reince Priebus. Liu asked a question that belies an anti-republican, elitist, and un-American mindset.

Liu asked (I quote from memory, fallibly): “But why can’t the Republicans figure out who their nominee is already?”

This question is anti-republican in two ways. It is against the idea of republican representation in that it suggests that the nominee should be the next in line or the best funded rather than the person carefully examined and judged to have the best principles and the most worthy character. It is contrary to the interests of the Republican party because it would bequeath upon the party a hastily chosen candidate that might be an ideological mismatch or a strategic flop.

The question reveals an elitist attitude by vesting the choice in some group other than the people. Liu might be a Democrat (I don’t know or care); but the question suggests that she is not democratic. The primary exists so that the people can nominate a candidate. If the candidate is to be chosen by—or before—the close of the first primary event, before 49 of the state parties get to speak, before “the 99%” of Republicans can cast a vote, then who gets to chose the candidate? Who, Liu, should pick the Republican candidate? You? If not by a primary, then by what process? A scientific poll of 3000 randomly selected Americans with an error estimate of + or – 3%?

The question comes from a manifestly un-American way of thinking. If the parties were to adopt the underlying advice of choosing their nominee before the primary election (by whatever method), both parties’ primaries would offer their constituents no meaningful choice. In the scenario, you, the primary voter, could either vote for Candidate A or, well, you could… well, um, you still have the freedom to vote for the candidate. And that’s an important freedom.

But, of course, that’s silly. Nobody would have an election, either primary or general, that would be nothing more than a mechanism for showing our support of “the chosen one”. If we used a more efficient means to chose our nominee, we could safely dispose of the primary process itself. And if it works so well for selection of a nominee for each party, we could use the same shortcut to select the country’s nominee. Can anybody name some countries that have a single party system? Not very American are they?

I don’t suggest that this is some plan cooked up in a tobacco-scented room high up in the lofty towers of the Trilateral Commission HQ or some secret committee room deep in the catacombs under the Chambers of the Council for Foreign Relations (sorry, tin-foil hatters). Nor do I begin to suggest that Liu thought this through—she’s just asking questions that help drive ratings. What I am suggesting is that this picture is the logical conclusion of the mentality that inspired the question.

“But why can’t the Republicans figure out who their nominee is already?” The problem with this insidious line of questioning is that a significant chunk of the population doesn’t catch the underlying worldview but, carelessly gets sucked into that way of thinking. Our political process is a valuable mechanism for the protection of our rights; let’s defend it.

Of course voting is messy; it needs to be. The elites cannot control voting.

4 comments
    1. I agree. Partisan would be against one party but in favor of the other. My point is that the mindset that generates the question defies the principles of both.

  1. As for Betty Boop, er, Liu, let’s just put it like this:  

    I make my living off the evening news,
    Just give me something, something I can use…

    Well, I could’ve been an actor, but I wound up here,
    I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear….
     😉

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