I believe that all politicians are dishonest and unethical. I think that local elections are far more relevant to me than presidential campaigns. Despite these beliefs, the presidential primary season is a train wreck that I just can't look away from. It's my guilty pleasure. Some people watch daytime talk shows, some people watch soap operas, I will be up Tuesday night with my cheesecake watching election returns.
In some ways, the election season kind of makes me embarrassed to be American. Are these really the people we are choosing to lead our nation? We really can't do better than this? Has the campaign strategy really devolved to the point that there is more juvenile name calling than actually policy debate? The world is watching us choose our leader in a contest that amounts to little more than a verbal food fight. Then I watch the news coverage of "elections" in other nations (recently Iran) and I realize that, for all its flaws, our election process really is remarkable in the world. Whoever wins, and I'm not really impressed with any of the options, election day will be nonviolent. And the President Elect will take office on inauguration day in a peaceful ceremony. At least half of the country will be disappointed or angry, but no one will die over it.
The presidential primary process is interesting to me. I follow it more closely than is probably considered healthy. Each party in each state has its own rules, and the game is complex. I am registered in neither party. I have voted for candidates in both parties. But since I am a Mormon currently residing in the state of Texas, most of my friends are republicans, and I'm curious about your voting strategies. Texas (and most of the other states holding primaries on Super Tuesday) allocates delegates to the national convention on a proportional basis. Sort of. Some of the delegates are at large delegates awarded based on state wide totals, and some delegates are awarded according to congressional district. If a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they get all the delegates. If not, then all candidates receiving at least 20% of the vote are awarded delegates proportionally. Unless only one candidate gets at least 20% of the vote. In that case, the top two candidates are awarded delegates proportionally. And there are more details. The official rules are two pages long. I find it interesting. I know normal people don't. I'm comfortable with my weirdness.
I've come up with some strategies that I think people use to decide who to vote for. Which one best describes your thought process on election day?
1. I vote for the party front runner. The longer this shenanigan goes on the worse it is for my party. I'd like to get this primary hoopla over as soon as possible and start focusing on the general election.
2. Delegates? Conventions? I don't have a clue what you are talking about and I don't care that much. I show up. I vote for who I like. I get my sticker. I go home.
3. I thoughtfully pick the candidate I like the best (or dislike the least) and I vote for them even if I know they are unlikely to win any delegates. I vote my conscience and I want my vote to represent how I actually feel.
4. I choose from among the candidates who are most likely to reach the 20% threshold, even if I prefer a different candidate. I feel like my vote has more impact if it translates into delegates.
5. I don't like the candidates in either party. I feel like a third party candidate has a decent shot this year. I will intentionally abstain from voting in the primary of either party so that I can be eligible to sign a petition supporting a third party candidate hoping to be on the ballot for the general election in November.
6. I'm disillusioned by the whole thing and will stay home on election day.
7. I live in the state of Colorado where we vote for delegates who will attend a state convention that will convene to select delegates to go to the national convention. None of the above apply to that process.
Or maybe you have an entirely different strategy. Let me know how you decided who to vote for.