Could We Upgrade to the 21st Century?

Suzann Darnall

I want to complain about an issue that has grated on me since shortly after I started voting in 1976. It happens in lots of arenas of our political system, but in some ways, to me at least, none so much as in the primary and caucus process that decides who are our presidential candidates. I am tired of a select few deciding who I get to get choose from when it comes to my time to vote in the pre-election selection. Especially since it really isn't even just the Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina events that decide. Some of the "weeding-out" happens prior to those states holding their primaries/caucuses.

I want a full slate of presidential hopefuls to choose from. I don't want the two or three that weathered the storms. I want the seven, or nine, or whoever that started off wanting to talk to America and ask me if I want to vote for them. I don't want the whittled down list that the media, pollsters, debate moderators, state election processors, and party leaders decided were viable candidates. I want to make my choice for myself from all of the possibilities. I am tired of being handed a Bob Dole or John McCain on a platter and being told he's the best option we got left. That's what got us Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

It's not that I don't care for Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum. I don't know that I'd necessarily vote for Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, but I'd like to decide that on my own. I'd like to have all the candidates come down to Texas and do the political courtship dance that seems to be reserved for those select few first primary/caucus states. I want all 50 states and the territories to be on an even footing in the political process of selecting our president. From the start! Not just at the tail end when it almost doesn't matter.

I understand why primaries and caucuses used to be all spread out. People had to travel to be seen and heard. But, it has been a very long time since radio, television, and now the internet has arrived on the scene of political interaction. Candidates can pert near meet face-to-face with Americans across the globe without leaving their campaign headquarters. We have the technology! Lots and lots of it.

To me the only really fair way to hold primaries and caucuses would be to have them all take place on the same day. One great big voting bonanza all across America. Everyone gets to choose from all the candidates on the slate. No whittling down here and there by this media outlet, that debate moderator, some state's primary, or another state's caucus.

And, don't think the media, pollsters, and the debates don't pick and choose who we get to select or elect. Just look at coverage by the media of various candidates. There is no fairness in that process. The media bias is rampant. The majority of the liberal so-called main stream media is looking for the candidate they best think Obama can beat, so they tear down anyone viable. Most of the polls have slanted questions that nudge and guide the answers given, so that virtually all the data is slanted whatever way the pollsters wanted it to go. Not to mention that the media's bias has already pushed and nudged voters to having certain opinions of various candidates. Often these biased polls numbers are then used to decide who can participate in debates and where candidates are placed on the stage. That's right. Bit by bit, little by little, the entire "selection" process is corrupted along the way by the very people who are supposedly helping us vet the candidates and make our selection. They aren't vetting our candidates! They are making the choice for us and doing it in such a way as to make us think we are in charge of our destiny.

As if it isn't enough that outsiders do this nudging to us, what about our own governments and political party? Various states set up systems that decide who can be included on the ballots. Some are atrociously run and disallow many candidates that are allowed elsewhere. Often party hacks at various levels decide it is someone's turn to be the candidate because he has been in line so long and they do all they can to push through that agenda. Or, the party "establishment" decides someone else is just too far out of the mainstream and must be defeated as soon as possible and at any cost.

Sorry, guess I am kind of an old-fashioned girl who still believes those quaint words, " . . . government of the people, by the people, for the people . . . " And, I think that process begins with the pre-selection prior to the election. I truly believe it is the people, the citizens, the voters who should decide who they want to run for office, so they can truly pick who they want to elect.

Politicians, pollsters, new sources, businesses, and people are all moving into the 21st century and making use of technology for campaigning, so why can't we also make us of it for selecting, electing, and voting? Why not shorten and sweeten the process? Allow all Americans a full slate of candidates by doing it all across the country, even the globe, on a single day. Absentee ballots need not be done any longer by mail. We've got email, online, and text options. The technological possibilities are nearly endless anymore.

If secure options can happen for banking, shopping, weapon systems, and what not, why can't it happen for voting? And, why can't even the pre-selection elections be a lot more fair?

© Suzann C. Darnall, JANUARY 2012

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