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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Monday, January 23, 2012

A thought on the primary/caucus system...

I want to address this to the Democrats and Republicans and offer them a challenge. Fix this system! As a member of the white majority, I find it appalling that 3 (maybe 4) states get to decide the makeup of the election. It's even more appalling when you look at the makeup of these three states. The presidential race is pretty much decided upon by white protestants. Let's face it the country has moved on from that.

To make sure I had numbers right, I looked up the stats. All race statistics came from the 2010 National Census, the religion came from different polling websites.

Iowa and New Hampshire are both over 90% white, South Carolina is over 62.6% white, 27.9% black. As a comparison, my own state of Washington is 77.3% white, 11.2% Latino, 7.2% Asian, 3.6% black, 4.7% mixed race. The US, as a whole, comes out as 72.4% white, 12.6% black, 16.3% Latino.

When it comes to religion, Iowa is 52% Protestant, 23% Catholic; South Carolina 84% Protestant, 7% Catholic; New Hampshire 35% Catholic, 32% Protestant, 17% none. Washington State is 49% Protestant, 25% unaffiliated, 16% Catholic. As a whole, the country is 51.3% Protestant, 23.9% Catholic, 16.1% unaffiliated, 4.7% non-Christian.

What can be done? Well, something surely. There are a few options. We could completely scrap the system and go to a nationwide system. We could mandate that ALL primary/caucuses should occur on the same date. Both of these are unlikely. In the end, it will come down to the parties. They need to take ownership of the system.

I personally think it is unfair that these three states have all the power. Our history shows that we distrust allowing one faction having too much power. Our Constitution is proof of this. Why have two houses in Congress? One based on population, one based on equal votes for each state. Why have three branches of government set up as equal parts? It is all based on this distrust. The courts were given this power because the Founding Fathers were concerned about "mob rule". The legislature and executive branches have checks on each other because of an experience of kings and parliaments. So why should this system remain in place?

Here are some thoughts I've had. I hope I get comments from both sides to the spectrum. Primaries and caucuses before Super Tuesday (or the first of March) should not be the same every year. The states with a primary/caucus before then should:

  • Decide the states by a lottery
  • Each time zone should get at least one state primary/caucus 
  • Any state with a racial demographic majority higher than the national percentage should not be allowed a primary 
The Republicans say they are a "Big Tent" party and the Democrats pride themselves on being the party of civil rights. If so, they must react to the sheer unfairness of this system. This country was founded on the system of fairness. The Founding Fathers did not find it fair that they were taxed by a Parliament that they were not allowed to send representatives to. We can do no less.

In the interest of demographics, here are mine:
  • Race: white
  • Faith: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Age: 45
  • Employment: disabled secretary
  • Pets: 2 dogs
  • Favorite news source: NPR, BBC
  • Favorite sports team: Seattle Mariners, Kennewick Lions
  • Favorite sports: baseball
  • Favorite author(s): Jane Austen, the Brontes, Clive Cussler, J. D. Robb
  • Politics: Economics (liberal); Crime & Justice (conservative); Social policies (libertarian); Foreign affairs (progressive)

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