Saturday, May 05, 2007

Primary numbers

By Libby

I'm not a big poll watcher but it's worth remarking that Bush has finally bested his Dad at something. The latest Newsweek survey showed The Commander Guy at an all time low with a 28% approval rating, beating out his Pop by one point. And it's early yet so he could sink lower still and really win that race to the bottom.

Unsurprisingly this has had an effect on the polling for the GOP candidates. There's not one of them that came up with winning numbers against any of the Democratic contenders. But what really strikes me about those stats is that in head to head contests, Obama and Edwards defeat the Republicans by larger margins than Hillary does, yet in polling done among Democrats only, Clinton is still the favored candidate by a substantial margin.

This is what's wrong with our electoral system. The candidates are chosen by active partisans within the party that don't reflect the will of the larger public. People don't bother to show up at the polls because the selection process delivers candidates that represent the views of politically connected minorities, not their own. This is why we have GOP candidates that parrot the talking points of a failed president, while the Democrats are on track to deliver the weakest candidate possible to the general election. Meanwhile the states all jockey for positions of importance by fiddling with the dates of their primaries.

Maybe it's time we revamped the whole methodology. Why not have a national primary day as we do for the general election and take the process out of the hands of partisans and put it back in the hands of all the people? With today's communication technology there's no good reason not to and coupled it with instant runoff voting, we would get candidates that were chosen by popular vote instead of the party machinery.

I don't see any downside to that.

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