The US is having the most interesting primary elections in many years, because (in the absence of an incumbant) the outcome is in doubt for the
nominee of either party, and there have been surprises. A month earlier, hardly anyone thought Huckabee had a chance in Iowa (actually a caucus, not
a primary), and McCain's candidacy was considered almost dead a few months ago. Both winners had very little money. Obama and Hillary seem evenly
matched, with different strengths.
Several states have open primaries or caucuses, meaning the voter gets to vote for either party. Independents can choose iether party. A Republican could ask for a Democrat ballot, to try to influence toward a weak choice, or toward a choice more in line with Republican thinking; a Democrat could do the same.
Some states have closed primaries. A person declares their party preference, is listed as such, and gets that ballot. Listed Republicans choose Republican candidates, and listed Democrats choose Democrat candidates. Of course, you can move from one list to the other if you wish, but you can't stay listed as one and vote as if you were the other.
Which do you think is better? Should the states become more nearly uniform?
Significantly, Iowa and New Hampshire--open states--picked as winners the two candidates who are most in line with Democrat practice (Huckabee in taxes, spending, and immigration; McCain in taxes, immigration, and environmental policies). In a field of candidates where the conservative vote is divided up among several people, a small number of people who are not even Republicans might decide who is nominated by tipping the balance. And, if they really prefer Democrat positions, they may vote for the Democrat nominee instead in the general election!
A political expert is talking about how the open primary in Michigan might turn out. Michigan moved the date of its primary to an earlier date,
without permission from the Democrat party. The Democrat party ruling was that their delegates would not be allowed to vote, because they were
elected at a time not allowed by the rules. Obama and Edwards therefor took their names off the ballot, leaving only Hillary Clinton or
"uncommitted." With only one named choice on the Democratic ballot, and no voting delegates at stake, there is little reason for anyone to show up
at the polls and ask for a Democrat ballot. Those who do show up at the polls may well decide to ask for a Republican ballot, either desiring that
the Republicans nominate the candidate they like best (just in case he wins), or desiring that the Republicans nominate a weak candidate whom the
Democrats can defeat. The former would be McCain (who holds Democrat positions on several issures); the latter would either be McCain or Huckabee.
If a lot of Democrats or Independents vote for McCain, he is likely to win. Among the Republicans, Romney and McCain are polled to be nearly tied (Romney with a slight lead, but within the margin of error).
It will be an exciting night for those who are interested in Republican politics. Today is the vote!
We practically need a new forum for the American Elections. This is more "popular" than the Arts forum was.
Well, it has more posts but rarely all that much discussion....
I realize that some people are not much interested in politics to start with. Not as many Americans vote in primaries as vote in general elections,
and a lot of people don't even vote in the general elections. I would think that Brits would not be interested for the sake of their own lives
(except with respect to foreign policy, perhaps). I do hope what I post is of some interest to people who would like to learn about it, just for the
sake of their own general knowledge. I, myself, am learning more details. I didn't realize how the process was different form Democrats and
Republicans in Iowa, for example.
There is a contest coming up in which the Democrats in a state will vote on one day, and the Republicans will hold their primary on another day! I figure that means one party had a reason to change the date, and the other did not agree to the change--but it must be almost twice as expensive to have two different elections! (Heat, electricity, personel. . .)
There's also the point that the majority of the people who post here are not in the US and while interested in the outcome, have little interest in the detailed process...