The presidential primary for Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. is tomorrow. (Some are calling it the “Potomac primary” and I’ve also seen the “Chesapeake primary.”) I don’t think I’ve ever voted in a primary where the nominee wasn’t already “decided.” And, just my luck, I’m truly undecided on this one. In a perfect world, I have serious reservations about both Clinton and Obama. In this world, they are both stellar candidates against anything the Republicans have to offer. I could still vote for Edwards, as I believe he’s still on the ballot. Or, since I’m so torn, I could just not vote at all. Or, since Virgina has open primaries, I could go vote in the Republican primary – but that’s not a particularly palatable option, either. I suspect either I won’t go, or I’ll decide while staring at the little touch screen.
On, and just to wander into the political junkie weeds for a moment: on this whole super-delegate question — yo, people, the rules are the rules. If anyone thought this was a horrible way for the party to determine its nominee, where was the big protest and screeching earlier? Besides, I truly don’t think it’ll come to that, but even if it does, I’m with Digby, and, heaven help me, Kevin Drum:
[Drum:] Who decides what the popular will is anyway? Is it number of pledged delegates from the state contests? Total popular vote? Total number of states won? What about uncommitted delegates from primary states? Or caucus states, in which there’s no popular vote to consult and delegates are selected in a decidedly nondemocratic fashion to begin with? And what about all the independent and crossover voters? Personally, I’d just as soon they didn’t have a say in selecting the nominee of my party at all, but the rules say otherwise. If I’m a superdelegate, do I count their votes, or do I pore over exit polls to try to tease out how Democratic Party voters voted? And how do I take into account the obviously disproportionate influence of Iowa and New Hampshire, two tiny states that have far more power than any truly democratic process would ever give them?
[... back to Digby:] I am all for insisting that the decision be based upon the will of the people. But the system is so weird that I don’t think anyone can tell what that really will be if the party remains polarized.
So while I am certainly sympathetic to the notion that the elite fat cats shouldn’t decide for us, I think somebody needs to set forth some detailed criteria about how they should go about determining a more democratic way to decide this thing if there is a tie.
This is related to another thing I find pretty puzzling — all the anxiousness over the fact that the primary selection process is taking awhile and is actually competitive for more than 2 states’ worth of voting. Why is this a bad thing? I know the media will do their usual “Dems in disarray” bullshit, but I truly fail to see the problem. I wish most primaries worked like this–remained competitive, that is–and I’m fairly amused at the fact that after a bunch of states jockeyed to move their primaries as early as possible, this thing might play out all the way into April (at least on the Dem side). It’s not disarray, it’s, as I overheard someone on the elevator at work say today, an overabundance of riches. Two strong candidates, an engaged and participating Democratic electorate–where’s the bad, again? By the way, one of my sources in Maine says that my hometown’s Democratic caucus turnout was huge this year – in 2004 something like a dozen people showed up; this time it was almost 200.