Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Multi-canidate Primaries

Americans are generally proud of their democratic system. My late colleague the psephologist (look it up...) thought that the primary election and the public opinion poll were great American contributions to the democratic process --- and I believe they can be.

But the multi-candidate candidate primary is fraught with peril. (I like clich├ęs; they usually say something.) Suppose there are six candidate in the field. A candidate getting, say, 20%, of a small turnout can win and get headlines. Another candidate can get plaudits for "doing better than expected."

In "caucus states" the system is truly absurd. In Iowa the vote you cast is public and it may take 5-6 hours to complete the process, with "un-committed" often winning.

Watch out in 2008 --- when no incumbents will be running in either party.

I personally favor a "fusion" (independent) ticket that would include Joe Lieberman, John McCain or Rudy Giuliani. That would break up some of the hanky-panky of certain automatic veto issues (nuclear power, abortion etc.)

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