This Is Not Complicated, Mr. Perez

Campaign 2016 Milestones

Here’s what I have to say about this:  There’s a big push by the Bernie Bros to get Democrats to abandon closed primaries (primaries in which, to select the Democratic nominee you have to be registered as a Democrat; I know, shocking) and to adopt caucuses, as opposed to primaries, wherever possible.  Both are bad ideas.

First, closed primaries. I live in a very blue area.  Our county commissioners, etc. should be very progressive and the Democrats here would gladly vote for a very progressive slate.  But we have open primaries.  The Republicans who live here (a distinct minority of overall voters but a larger percentage of those who vote in primaries and that’s a story for another day) show up and vote in the open primary for the most conservative candidate.  Then, in the general election, the person selected in the Democratic primary wins, getting more votes than the much more conservative Republican candidate.  The result is that we are never able to pull the Overton Window to the left.  What should be a very progressive county winds up just being pretty middle of the road.

Second, caucuses.  There are various kinds of caucuses, but the kind being advocated are one night affairs where voters show up, people stand up and talk about why you should vote for their candidate, there’s a vote, then there can be more talking, more voting, etc., etc., etc.  As opposed to the situation where you can maybe vote early or, at the worst, you show up at your polling place, stand in line, vote, and go home.  So guess who is centered in a caucus?  Well, we know that in groups, men talk more than women, interrupt women more, and are given more credence than women.  We know that single mothers, for example, who have to beg time off work, get a sitter, spend an entire evening at the caucus, and listen to a lot of speeches often skip caucuses.  We know that people of color have similar problems.  We know that people with disabilities may have more trouble participating in a caucus than in a simple primary.

So I want closed primaries and I want primaries over caucuses.

Picture found here.



12 responses to “This Is Not Complicated, Mr. Perez

  1. Brilliantly said. People in our state are agitating for open primaries, arguing that closed primaries disenfranchise independent voters. But if you cannot be associated with a party for as little as a few weeks, why should you have a say in selecting that party’s candidates?

  2. In New York it’s months, not weeks, ahead that people have to change their registration. Nine months, I believe; perhaps the most closed process in the country. That’s a blue state for ya.

    Locally, Democrats in my town abandoned caucuses this year for exactly the reasons you have described. I think caucuses have a lovely feel of democracy, but I’ve come to realize how easily people are disenfranchised by them.

    • TPWard, As you note, that requirement is a state requirement, not a party requirement. You say “That’s a blue state,” but do you have info on when the requirement was imposed, what red states do, how other states differ? I would be in favor of a shorter requirement, but I don’t think it makes sense to let anyone pick the Dem candidate, any more than I think it would be fair to let Democrats pick the Republican candidate. I agree with you that caucuses actually disenfranchise people.

      • Oh I didn’t mean to suggest I was commenting on the question of open primaries! I was simply observing that these are the rules in an overwhelmingly “liberal” state, with the quotes intended to mean it’s nothing of the sort regardless of how people choose to register. It’s difficult here because the men in power wish it so, and that’s not good for anyone but them.

  3. “Bernie Bros”? Really? Surely not all those with differing opinions can accurately be labelled with this pejorative term.

    • If you google, you’ll see that it’s the Sanders’ appointees to the “Unity Commission” who are making these arguments. It’s only pejorative if you agree that they’re not interested in electing Democratic candidates.

  4. One person one vote. I vote for the person who is running that most closely believes in the same values as I do. I do not vote for the party! I have voted for republicans, democrats, and third party. This is just one of the many things that are wrong here. The most glaring is the fact we have the lowest voter turn-out among nations that vote. As long as the small percentage of voters are the only ones to vote over and over again, guess what? Nothing changes. I am for open primaries. No caucuses. I am tired of selecting the winner of a caucus by coin toss. Fuck that shit. Primaries only. Also, everyone votes or you face a substantial fine. Citizenship in this country comes with responsibilities. One of the most important of those responsibilities is VOTING! This would be a much different place if all citizens took their responsibility to be an informed voter more seriously.

    • I have to say that I have conflicted feelings about requiring people to vote. On the one hand, we need more people to vote. On the other, I think that forcing people to vote can lead to Boaty McBoatface votes. I’m not sure what the answer is.

  5. I feel deeply disenfranchised by the fact that my state (WA) has both a primary election and a caucus system, and the Democrats then ignore the primary. In the last Presidential election, Clinton won the primary handily, but all of our delegates went to Sanders. I think this shows rather clearly that the two are not interchangeable; and I am 100% sure the primary was more reflective of the Democratic electorate.

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