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October 18, 2004

Choosing the Party

I just got an email from the former chair of the Washington State Democrats (I admit it, I'm a Democrat and proud of it -- but this was irritating) asking me to vote against I-872. Trouble is, I'm a permanent absentee and I've already voted. And I voted for it.

Now I don't mind the parties getting to pick their candidates. They're correct, its their right as part of the Constitution. But why are they asking me to pay for their right. They certainly aren't picking up the tab for any of mine. I don't mind paying taxes, but I like to get asked. These guys just take it out of that bottomless pit, the general fund.

So, I'll make a trade. You pay for one of my rights, or at least protect me from John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act, and I'll gladly pay for yours. Until then, I'd just like to have some choices in the primaries, even though I'm going to vote a straight Democratic ticket.

Posted by Harolynne Bobis on October 18, 2004 at 01:08 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink


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To me, this sounds like an argument for NOT having primaries at all -- rather than for having "top two" primaries. Sounds good to me!

Posted by: Jon Stahl | Oct 18, 2004 5:02:56 PM

I didn't have the benefit of any progressive or otherwise counsel when I voted on this.

It looked pretty easy to me -- I voted no.

As partisan as most legislative bodies are, I think they ought to at least be able to field their best candidate representative of the party. In a top-2 advance election you would have to campaign against all candidates, including the opposition party's strongest as well as your own party's candidates.

There goes the winnowing process that a party uses to change and evolve over time.

Some people decide to run for office without previous runs. They learn as they go - which is perfect for a primary where there are fewer candidates vying for fewer voters the first go-round. They get noticed by reporters and editors and by people where they probably wouldn't in a top-2 because the focus would be on handicapping the top 2 finishers, who would probably be experienced campaigners.

Top-2 sounds good, in theory (as did much of the teaching of the classic Greek philosophers); in practice, I think it would shut out new voices.

Posted by: Randy | Oct 20, 2004 6:15:21 PM

"But why are they asking me to pay for their right."

I forgot to address that point.

I don't have the resources, but I bet far more of your tax dollars went into police overtime for all the presidential candidate visits this year than it costs to hold a primary election (in which, I understand, there are also initiative measures).

It's part of the price you pay as a citizen in our society.

Posted by: Randy | Oct 20, 2004 6:19:06 PM

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