Friday, March 02, 2018

The Problem With Primaries Will Presently Be Seen

Some of you that read this space know that I think political parties should nominate by caucus rather than primaries. There is no just reason I as an independent should pay for an election for private political clubs to select their nominees- especially since the parties get the filing fees!  It is in effect a taxpayer subsidy for the Republicans and Democrats, presumably in appreciation for the wonderful way they have mismanaged the country into colossal debt while those close to them get richer and the rest of us get poorer.

The population has the idea that this is the way the system is "supposed to work". But primary elections are not in the constitution. The parties have managed to arrange the election process to their own benefit, giving the public the impression that this is "our" process. But as the DNC argued in court last week, the people who run the club have no public legal obligation to conduct their primaries fairly- they only want to give people that impression so they will continue to buy in.

I have previously noted to activists who get incensed at all these special elections to sneak in bad things that "primaries are special elections" where the insider class who directly benefit from bigger government show up in greater proportions than regular taxpayers. I think we are about to see an example of that in the GOP Primary Governor's race where Jan Morgan is challenging the establishment incumbent Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Though Morgan could be said to face long odds, I want you to notice the special election for state senate district 16 (Russellville area). No matter how it ends up in the run-off, the first go-round was extremely close between the candidate Morgan supports, Bob Bailey, and the candidate Hutchinson supports, Breanne Davis. It was something like 41-43 with the balance of the vote going to the third candidate whose supporters might be expected to stay home or split between the other two candidates.

So if that race is a proxy for the GOP Governor's primary then its very close. And absent some bombshells between now and May I think it will be- in areas similar in profile to district 16. Is that most of the state? Geographically yes. But two places with lots of votes are not like the rest of the state- Pulaski County and Benton and Washington Counties. What's more all three of those contain large numbers of insider-thinking Democrat-leaning voters with a history of crossing over into Republican primaries when the need arises. Also consider that the Democrats have gone to great lengths to avoid any meaningful state-wide primaries. Dr. Bland was induced into getting out of the Secretary of State's race and switching to Lt. Governor for example. This leaves their insiders free to cross over and vote in the GOP primary. Don't think they won't. Its been happening in Benton County for years.

So what I expect to see is crony-capitalists and lefty-university types in northwest Arkansas swing those two counties over to the Governor. I expect those voters in Pulaski County whose livelihood is connected to expanding government to come to the Governor's rescue as well. He will be rescued by voters which are usually Democrat or simply mercenary. Most if not all of his margin could come from those three (out of 75!) counties. In order to overcome that Morgan will need not just a majority, but a large majority of the stalwart conservative grassroots types that you think of as "normal" Republican primary voters. Actual Republican primary voters are not who you may think they are, just as the party itself is not what you may think it is.


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