Americans Can End Whore House Politics By Demanding An "Everybody In Open Primary"

Americans Can End Whore House Politics By Demanding An "Everybody In Open Primary"

As the rancor and dysfunction in politics increases, more and more Americans have become less inclined to favor either party. According to a Mickey Edwards article written for the Atlantic, some 40% of voters now describe themselves as "Independents." Hopefully that number will continues to grow since it would finally offer voters the power to change whore house mentality that has gripped state and national politics.

George Washington and James Madison both warned of the dangers posed by political parties. And while that may sound contradictory since political parties arose almost immediately - they were not the same as the modern version. Parties in the early days of our history were factions uniting on a few major issues rather than this maniacal embrace of extremism of today. And let's not forget, both the Democratic and Republican Party's are to blame as we moved away from a direct primary system of old.

According to Mickey Edwards' article, in which he offers a six-way plan to fix Congress, one way for Americans to bring back civility and effective government is to break the power of partisans to keep candidates off the general-election ballot. As it stands today, candidates are selected via slate-makers and backroom deals. In exchange for placement, candidates must essentially follow the party line.

Unfortunately, that is the root cause for most of our political problems. Party loyalty not only exacts a heavy price, but disenfranchises voters. Voters are constantly being duped by their party leaderships into believing that they are the agents of change - but we know this isn't true because party agendas really aren't concerned much with what voter demands are. Is it any wonder why people are left confused when they can sweep in an entirely new slate of candidates and never get the change they desire?

It seems The Who had it right in "We Won't Get Fooled Again" You know? "The new boss is the same as the old boss!" It seems that the only thing that ever changes is the faces - but damn if that agenda doesn't remain! But Americans can do something about it. The question is - do they they want to?

Americans must demand an "Everybody Runs Open Primary" from Coast To Coast! That way every candidate -for every office and regardless of party affiliation would appear on the primary ballot. Candidates would be given free mailings and/or television time to get their message out and enhance their chances to advance. Every voter would then be able to choose among any candidate and the top two finishers, even if they are from the same party, would move on to the General Election.

Some states already have such a system and by all accounts, seems to work well. Americans deserve to have a choice, especially a choice that is not encumbered by some partisan slate-makers who end up rigging the system. Illinoisans certainly know a thing or two about rigged elections and anyone can see that it hasn't worked very well.

If you want to end the whore house politics gripping our nation - start demanding a fairer process.

Now that would be an interesting Grassroots Movement!

 

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  • While I agree that Illinois has rigged elections, I don't see any cure for that in the article.

    Theoretically, all primaries are open here; you just have to get the signatures. However, the machine makes sure that those who get slated get the signatures, and also makes sure that those who aren't slated have their petitions challenged.* But theoretically it is the same system. Dock Walls still gets on the ballot, and before him Lar "America First" Daley.

    In Congressional primaries, at least where there isn't an incrumbent of that party, voters usually get a choice between the carpetbagger, Tea Partyist, and member of the rich leisure class. Does Dan Seals really now need the state job?

    I'm also sure that so long as Madigan and Cullerton control the campaign funds, any nonslated candidate is not going to have the resources to compete. Throw in the same for the national congressional campaign committees.

    I thought that this was going to deal with nonpartisan elections, but Chicago and Joliet show that that doesn't result in a nonpartisan result.

    Since you mention the founders, what is actually needed is the citizen legislature first envisioned by them. However, on the state level, you have Democrat tools like Biss in Glenview, who campaigned as being a "full time legislator." I wonder if he is really living on the $52,000 to which the legislature supposedly restricted its members' salaries.

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    *Apparently Chico was the machine candidate and Rahm wasn't.

  • In reply to jack:

    No, No, No - We do not have an open primary since you must declare affiliation! People who do not want to declare must skip the primary - thus they are already disenfranchised. We shouldn't use Chicago's recent open primary as an example, rather all the other elections. So, there is nothing theoretically the same here. That is why I was clear when I said "An Everybody In Open Primary." The "intelligent" states who have already adopted this don't fritter about demanding outrageous petition signatures which Illinois does either. The reason Illinois remains in the shit state its in is because of the slate-makers. But I'll tell you what is theoretical; Chicago's lame attempt at an open primary - everybody votes Democrat.

    You mention Joliet and while I agree that in the past it may have mimicked Chicago - the Will County demographics have been rapidly changing. What was once a Republican stronghold is not so much anymore and the election results bear that out. And actually - we have already seen that incumbents aren't safe here.

    Sorry not familiar with Biss so I will need to dig a little on that.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I had assumed you meant open to the candidates.

    Page 2 of the article describes exactly what is the Chicago city election process.* Rahm, of course, is about as Republican as his political ally, Schakowsky. (Well, maybe more so, since he realized he has to deal with the budget.)

    If you are saying the voters shouldn't have to declare affiliation, but there still is a traditional primary to select party candidates, I harken back to when Illinois law said that once you declared, you were stuck for 23 months, making sure that you were stuck, but that was ruled unconstitutional. Yes, I declare, but to vote against people on the primary ballot. I can say that I voted for Blago's opponent 4 times. I'm sure that the 87% who voted for persons other than Stroger in the primary were not all Democrats.

    Otherwise, I can see nothing but mischief if party primaries remain, but, say, voters could vote on all party lines. Of course, he could have advocated for the New York system, with the same candidate on multiple lines, such as the Dem/Lib, or Rep./Cons./Independence (Perot supporters). Worked fine, until it turned out that King Mario the First had different running mates on the Dem. and Lib. lines, and he had to dump the Lib. mate for the two lines to be added at the general election.

    With regard to Biss, while I am not in his district, his commercials showed up on cable at the fitness center, which was in the district, and were to the effect stated. That was an open district, since the incumbent rep ran for the 10th CD and lost.** 10 years ago she had to move to keep her seat.

    Anyway, my tool comment was based on this article in whatever the STMG is calling the Pioneer Press this week.You can read my comment there. I didn't include that his "refinance" comment, which just mimics Quinn, also missed the point. One mortgages for a capital expenditures, such as a house, or in the case of the state, maybe a highway bond. The kind of refinancing Quinn and Biss (and Eric Zorn) advocate is similar to going to Vito the loan shark because whoever at the "health food store" wherever Amy Winehouse shops** is going to break one's thumbs if one doesn't pay him, and the debtor can't sell enough crack to be able to buy more chicken fat tomorrow.

    _____
    *In the South, converting to such primaries required clearance by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act, since they were designed, in effect, to prevent the Harold Washington type result in 1983 (i.e. make sure that the Black candidate does not win with 34% of the vote). Apparently, Chicago's conversion was sufficiently removed from Daley being elected to avoid such scrutiny. Of course, the Voting Rights Act specified which states were subject to preclearance.

    **I was going to suggest some other reference, but figured I better do something more neutral.

  • In reply to jack:

    You assumed correctly except I was referring to the same model California, and others, have adopted; whereas all candidates for a particular office - irregardless of party affiliation - are placed on the ballot. Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Libertarians, Communist Party, etc... would all be on that primary ballot and the top two finishers move on to the General Election. That is an "Everybody In" Primary. Totally non-partisan since voters do not have to declare an affiliation.

    Like you, I have picked up an opposing ballot and voted against certain candidates, however - that is not effective by any stretch. The reality is that most people forgo the primary and the numbers bear that out. I mean 33% or less? That is a horrid show of participation. An "All-In" Primary actually motivates people and the states that already do that (hell - even Louisiana of all places) have seen decent numbers. I also believe the idea of Tuesday elections (especially when moved up as they recently did was designed to discourage voters). I kind of like the model nearly every other country in the world uses - which is voting on the weekends (that has also shown to have boosted participation).

    As you correctly pointed-out "the mischief remains with party primaries" - that of course coming right back to the slate-makers. They must be removed from the process for citizens to get any kind of comfy feeling that they aren't getting manipulated by both sides. The "All-In" is also the perfect counter-weight to last year's Supreme Court decision which allows Corporate America Carte-Blanche when it comes to unlimited campaign contributions. Which by the way seems ludicrous - either corporations are business entities or they are individuals? They can't have both, yet they seem to enjoy that distinction and circumvents Tort Laws.

    As for Rahmbo's Republican leanings on the budget - well - he has no choice and I actually give him credit for denying stipends of $20,000+ to attend one, or none, meetings. Too bad Huckster Quinn can't seem to grasp that concept, but then again he couldn't reward his cronies for those last-minute tax increase votes and keeping nimrods like Dan Seals on the Public Dole. And yes - I agree with you on the Vito the Loan Shark analogy. That mentality has run rampant in this state for so long that it has become the cost of doing business and taxpayers better wise up. To say Illinoisans are some of the most illiterate voters is an understatement - but perhaps with the economy still being hampered - they may just realize the screwing they have gotten. On second thought never mind - most voters are too stupid to connect the dots.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I think you are still missing the point that whether it is called the California primary or the Louisiana primary, so long as it is the top two moving on to the election, it is the Chicago city primary. IIRC, the turnout on the last one was about 50% too, even though it was the first one subject to a real contest in about 20 years. May as well be Joliet and abolish the second round.

    While maybe sanctioning the parties in law may be too much, there is no way, under the Free Association clause of the First Amendment that you can abolish them, nor their effect as slatemakers and conduits of funding.

  • In reply to jack:

    I see what you are saying. I am alluding more to state and national candidates. Yes, Chicago basically had an all in open primary, but the point remains that petition requirements are still outrageous for an outsider. Even though Rahm wasn't the chosen one in this election, normally the slate-makers dictate who from the machine / combine runs and they have a tremendous advantage. Same for the state wide and national candidates. The little guy has slim to none chances of winning. that is a reality. And look, I am not saying anything about abolishing parties, I am simply saying we need to embellish the process to take some of the power away from slate-makers. How many times have you heard the line the "lesser of two evils." People aren't exactly getting a bang for their buck when predetermined candidates are pitted against each other. Expanding and strengthening the odds for lesser candidates in my mind is a better alternative than what we have now. I will stick to my assertion that the deck is stacked and the party powerful have placed for too many restrictions on others to run on a level playing field.

    As for conduits of funding, well here is the way I see it; corporations are given many advantages to limit liability, yet they maintain they are also entitled to the same privileges as individuals. They are either entitled to one or the other and the restrictions that go along with it. They can't be both yet that is exactly what that Supreme Court ruling did.

    Most galling though is the contribution rules. Is it really fair that they have no limits on contributions while individuals do? Do you not think that has the ability to sway an election?

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    As I indicated earlier, and probably will drop it, it hasn't worked in Illinois where tried, and at the moment you haven't figured out a way to repeal the First Amendment, which most of the rest of your statement would require to implement.

    Just like Daley couldn't repeal the Second.

  • In reply to jack:

    I think where we differ on this is that I don't think the 1st Amendment has anything to do with this since I am not trying to stifle it. The reason it hasn't worked here is simple, people have withdrawn from the process. Those who show up (more than not) are those who reliant on the machine for their livelihood. Chicago has been a staunch Democratic city for as long as its history. Republicanism is not anything that was ever embraced especially by the immigrants who liken Democratic policy with the socialism they are accustomed to. So let's forget Chicago on that level - but we can't forget them in terms of the population; i.e. it is very hard to defeat the will of Chicago unless there is a huge turnout in the collar counties and downstate. Of course we also have pockets of strong Democratic machines downstate and in Rockford too and I am not trying to forget about them. My only real point is that the the only way you neutralize those strengths is if the 60% of the population join the process and demand a new way of slating candidates. In effect they must demand it - but if they don't show up and participate it can't work.

    But an All-In Open Primary is squat to do with the 1st Amendment - it is about participation. And that is why things fail in Illinois because the few that do can't change the status quo.

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