Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Weird Tuesday

I would like to highlight for a second, particularly for my non-US readers, the weirdness of what is happening today with the "Super Tuesday" primaries. We've gotten very used to the idea that after the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, each a highly idiosyncratic process in its own way, the rest of the process up to the party conventions is pretty much an extended media coronation. We haven't used this whole apparatus as an ongoing democratic process since 1984, at least, which almost everyone, including me, has completely forgotten about. For all intents and purposes, almost nobody understands how the selection process is supposed to work if it is close and goes down to the wire in all 50 states.

Everyone expects the Republicans to return to form and anoint John McCain today, a process which will be encouraged by the Republicans using "winner take all" processes in big states. On the Democratic side, they're using (sometimes not very clear variants of) proportional representation, so it is much more likely to end up a rough tie between Obama and Clinton, with the majority of delegates having been decided earlier than ever. Kos has a good overall analysis of the possibilities for today's results.

Another thing to mention is that because of the way the schedule is constructed, we've quickly gone from Iowa and New Hampshire having extreme retail politics, with candidates crawling all over tiny rural states for years, everyone getting an excessive opportunity to examine each other, to a virtually nationwide primary, that, quite frankly, few people expected to even matter. These voters have had far less time to consider their choices. Anything might happen.

The upshot here is that the next six months could be very, very confusing and expose still further the atrophied state of democracy in America.

And I plan on eventually voting for Obama, mostly because it would take quite a bit for me to vote for the spouse of a former two-term president. Bill Clinton (and George W. Bush) should be allowed to run again, it is a stupid constitutional amendment, but I'm not going to start voting for presidential spouses. It is just too creepy. And it isn't a gender thing. If Geraldine Ferraro had become a two term president I wouldn't vote for her husband either (well, plus, as I recall, he was kind of mobbed up, or something).

1 comment:

Gnuosphere said...

"Bill Clinton (and George W. Bush) should be allowed to run again, it is a stupid constitutional amendment"

Dawn and I were just talking about this at dinner tonight. If there is trust that the people are deciding who wins, why have term limits? Term limits appear in contradiction to democracy.