The Texas Misstep

July 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, News & Commentary

A blogger named liberaltexan writing on the Burnt Orange report has this to say about the Texas Two Step:

One of the problems with the current primary system is that it dilutes votes, and it takes away from the importance of a voter casting their single vote. The saying is often heard: one person, one vote. By using this two part system you are penalizing people that in many cases cannot participate in the caucuses.

Another problem with the caucus system is voter disenfranchisement. The caucuses tend to lend towards participation by more affluent white voters. Caucuses are held in the evenings after the polls are closed, during which time those people that are employed in the evenings cannot attend. This also affects elderly voters, disabled voters, single parent voters, and voters living overseas just to name a few. Here in lies the problem; for a party that prides itself on being the party that defends the rights and liberties of minority groups they are same party that is stifling their voice.

Proponents of the dual caucus and voting system have used the argument that the system was created to increase voter turnout and encourage participation. This year 2,874,986 votes where cast in the Texas presidential primary, 839,231 votes where cast in 2004, 786,890 votes where cast in 2000, 921,256 where cast in 1996, and 1,483,047 where cast in 1992. The almost 3 million votes cast had nothing to do with the system used, and everything to do with the people of Texas (and the rest of that county) speaking out for change.

According to the United States Election Project, voter turn out in Iowa increased to 236,000 in 2008 from 122,193 in 2004 and 61,000 in 2000. However, caucus states had a lower percentage of voter turn out than non-caucus states. Iowa and New Mexico had the highest percentage in caucus states (16.3% and 11.2%), while New Hampshire and California had the highest percentage in non-caucus states (52.5% and 41.7%).

The sour grapes argument, that the opposition to the system is mainly Senator Hillary Clinton supporters who are bitter about the primary, is nothing but divisive and diversionary. Those who support Barack Obama, such as this blogger, should feel fortunate that the Democratic Party has been able to unite behind one candidate. Whether or not the primary system is right or wrong has nothing to do with whether or not you supported Senator Obama or Senator Clinton.

The primary system needs to be changed. The Texas Democratic Party must adopt a system of primary voting only. Precinct conventions should be held on the Saturday following the election in order to give everyone an equal opportunity to voice their opinions on local issues and elect precinct delegates.

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