The Primary Directive (Part Deux)

We left something out of yesterday’s blog about the Missouri Presidential Primary and we thank the state GOP mouthpiece, Jonathon Prouty, for calling it to our attention.

The Republican State Committee decided late last month to pick convention delegates through caucuses, a move that Prouty says makes the February primary irrelevant as far as the state party is concerned and nothing more than  “an expensive straw poll.”

The action was taken despite House approval  on September 9 of a change in the primary election date to March 147-2.  The House is heavily Republican.  The Senate, also heavily dominated by Republicans, had considered the bill for final passage on September 14 but went into full pout about being ordered around by the national party and shelved it.  The senate last met as a full body on September 21,

About a week after senators took off, the state committee decided Republican delegates would be picked through caucuses.

None of which negates Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s points about eliminating the primary.  And dismissing the primary as only “an expensive straw poll” might strike some as odd considering the attention paid by Republicans to the Iowa Straw Poll several weeks ago.  Yes, it was notable because it was the first general public test of the candidates.  But it said some things about those candidates and their receptions by the public.  In fact, one candidate ran up the white flag immediately after the numbers came in.

Should tens of thousands of Missouri Republicans have a chance to express their opinions in a non-binding survey that might guide the hundreds of caucus attendees in their choices of delegates?  Or is that an “irrelevant” question or an “irrelevant” issue?

Senators have raised an interesting point. In a time when six to eight million dollars–the cost of the primary–would mean a lot to some distinctly people-oriented services the state provides, is a primary election that has become nothing more than “an expensive straw poll” worth the cost?

To what degree is that straw poll/primary important in creating public interest in the delegate selection process?

To what degree will the results of the straw poll/primary be considered guidance for actions by the caucuses?

To what degree SHOULD the results of the straw poll/primary be considered guidance, even in good years?

Remember, Missouri’s primary elections are open.  Anybody can take a Republican ballot. Anybody can take a Democrat ballot.  We don’t register to vote as R’s or D’s here.  How valid, therefore, should the results of any presidential primary be?

As we get closer to next year’s  August primary elections and the November general elections, we’ll be hearing all kinds of noble voter-participation messages.  The parties will make extensive efforts to make sure their voters get to the polls.

Is there a hypocrisy factor in telling people at the start of that election year that their participation in the year’s first election is completely worthless?

And for the citizens, especially those who are active in the occupier movement or who have found a place in the Tea Party movement because you feel the present system has left you out, how do you feel about a suggestion in the senate that the state can’t afford to let you express a preference in a presidential primary?

Politics, despite the glibness  of some candidates, talk show hosts, and commercial producers to tell you otherwise, is not simple.  Answers do not come easily.  Nor should they. Not when it comes to the oft-proclaimed most basic right of Americans, the right to vote.

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