removing the "mis" from information

Monday, February 14, 2005

Democratastrophe, Part Two

In most functional respects, the Democrat party is an influential and resourceful political organization. It is competitive in fundraising; it is fluent and talented in propaganda; and it has solid bases of popular support on local, state, and national levels; it controls many state and local governments, and forms the major opposition in virtually all others within the United States.

While the Democrats have a number of other obvious problems, such as poor accounting, irreconcilable internal conflicts, and an overall lack of fresh ideas to offer the public, I believe the most significant hurdle to any resurgence of the party is its candidate selection process.

If you witnessed, as I did, the selection of John Kerry as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America, then you can't help but wonder - where's the democracy in the Democrats?

The only qualifications that the current Democratic Presidential Primary process screens for are a) fundraising prowess, b) pro-abortion credentials, and c) telegenic faces.

Where was the debate over whether John Kerry's well-known and highly controversial behavior would be a liability in the general election, especially in wartime? Where was consideration of the fact that he had so few accomplishments in his long tenure in the Senate? Where was the debate over the Democratic approach to the War on Terror, or indeed if the party would even support it? Why did less than half the Democratic voters in the United States get to vote before the choice nominee was a fait accompli? Why do California, or New York, two anchors of Democratic power, never get their say in who the nominee is? Why again, then a new Democratic National Committee Chairman is chosen, is the contest over before anyone ever gets to vote?

It is self defeating. The Democrats ended up with the most indecisive candidate because the Democrats as a party did not think it important enough to decide where to stand on the major issues of the day.

The Democrats need to seriously rethink how to choose candidates, if they want a candidate without mortal flaws, like the aloofness of a pre-2001 Al Gore, or the sordid and checkered history of a John Kerry. Where are the guys who have a real base of popular support who aren't ideologues who act to further marginalize the party? You can't even know who they are for sure, not unless you have a serious discussion of issues and take a blind poll.

And herein lies the problem of the Democrat party. [It is a problem to some extent for the GOP too, but the effects are much worse on the Democrats due to a lack of open debate on the central issues of the day -Ed.]

The current primary process is not a blind poll - and it is not a good simulation of a general election. It is heavily weighted so that the states which vote early have influence, and the later states nearly no influence. Furthermore, there is a large contingent of votes that are in the hands of party elders - insuring that those who broke the process to gain advantage get to keep their positions, and to further corrupt the party.

To this part of the problem, I propose a simple solution - do the entire Democrat primary on ONE day. If Iraqis voting for their first time can handle a hundred choices on their ballots, then I think a loyal Democrat in California deserves more choices than "John Kerry" - a twisted inversion, given that it was not so long ago that Iraqis had only the choice of "Saddam Hussein".

It is time the candidates on the Democrat line in the general election were chosen in a way that truly represents the people the candidates purport to represent. That goes for any party, but for the Democrats today, this deficiency is so severe as to threaten to be fatal. I now find myself often wondering of the fate of the Whig party, and if it collapsed in the same way.


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