because all politics is local
Hijacking the Primary Elections
The Hijacking of Primary Elections (Jan. 2010)
By Lois Kaneshiki (Lois@nb.net)
I used to say that if you wait until the General Election in November, you are too late. The real contest is in the Primary, where the political parties, which are similar to private clubs, elect their candidates. Now I am going to assert that if you wait until the Primary Election, you may be too late already.
The Primary Election is where the party voters select their candidates by secret ballot. That’s democracy, right? In reality our Primaries, the most important of all elections, are being hijacked as we speak by party leaders and other deal-makers before the party voters even get a chance to hear the candidates and learn what they stand for.
Candidates are quietly traveling around Pennsylvania, meeting with party leaders, asking for endorsements. Do you think they are asking the party leaders to endorse them based on the fact they, the candidates, are going to do the best job to protect our freedoms and promote principles of justice? If only we could be the little bugs on the wall that our party leaders seem to think we are to hear what was said during those meetings….
In February, the Republican State Committee will vote whether or not to endorse our statewide candidates. Before that, county leaders will meet in regional caucuses and do the same. After they vote Yes to endorse, then they will vote and endorse the Annointed Ones for whom we, the party soldiers, are expected to fall in line and get busy putting out yard signs, passing out literature, and do other assorted grub work.
So What’s the Problem?
The problem is that the Primary process is being manipulated and hijacked before the party voters get to vote. By endorsing candidates, they are unnecessarily influencing the outcome of an election that is supposed to be decided by the voters. Do we really need to be told who to vote for? What happened to good old-fashioned political debate and discourse and freedom of choice?
In fact, why have a Primary Election at all? If the party leaders “know best,’ why not skip the Primary Election altogether and save the taxpayers a truckload of money? I mean, they already told us who to vote for, right?
Do you get the feeling that someone out there doesn’t want you to choose your elected officials? Do you get the feeling that the process is corrupted from top to bottom? Well, I do.
How We Change It
In May, all the state party committee members and most of the county committee members will be up for election. The county committees will elect their Chairmen shortly after the election. So this is what you do:
- Concerned voters should run for a spot for their county committee seats. You can obtain a nomination petition on Feb. 16 at the county Elections Office.
- Before you vote for your Chair, ask him if he will pledge to vote NO on any questions regarding endorsing candidates. If he does not pledge NO, you vote for someone who will pledge YES.
- Before you vote for any state committee members, ask them how they will vote on endorsements. If you cannot reach them or can’t get an answer, don’t vote for them.
If we can’t take back our Primary Elections and let the electorate choose their candidates, we will never get the candidates we want in the General Election. Period.