Comments on: A short history of recent presidential primaries History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:51:13 +0000 hourly 1 By: Historiann Fri, 11 Apr 2008 00:20:01 +0000 No national primary day–they should be spread out, so that different states and regions can share the love (and the advertising dollars). I also don’t think I like winner take all–that’s why I think if we just added up all the votes together in a running total, we’d get something more like direct democracy. (Versus the current system, which, like the electoral college, way overrepresents rural states and small states, and underrepresents cities and large states.)

Screw you, Wyoming and Delaware, with your TWO senators each! (Or, we could just break California up into 10-15 city-states so that they could get 20-30 Senators instead of just two. How’d’ya like them apples, Rhode Island?

By: David Fri, 11 Apr 2008 00:08:30 +0000 I should also say that I hate winner-take-all, both for primaries and for the electoral college. It makes so many states unimportant, because one party/candidate has such a huge advantage there that the other party/candidate decides its not worth their trouble to challenge it. Obama will almost certainly lose Pennsylvania, but it is better that his margin of loss counts for something. If it didn’t, he probably would just busy himself campaigning in other states and ignore PA altogether.

By: David Fri, 11 Apr 2008 00:05:56 +0000 Historiann,

Would you favor a “National Primary Day” or do you think the primaries should be spaced out the way they are?

By: Historiann Thu, 10 Apr 2008 03:09:12 +0000 I agree with you, BEW, that we need to take a look at the crazy quilt system of nominating Democratic candidates. Many states (like my own) are quite attached to their caucuses, which is unfortunate, because they’re not very democratic. They run counter to the whole trend of vote-by-mail, and early voting, that have arisen to make voting more possible for more people. I don’t think I agree with you about having to register a month in advance–there aren’t enough “dem for a day” pranksters to make much of a difference, and opening up registration is a way of expanding the party. As you know, most people don’t pay attention until the last 2 weeks of the campaign, and if they haven’t registered before then in most states, it’s too late for them to participate at all. So, I favor allowing people to register at the polls–but I agree with you that they should be closed primaries. You have to be a Democrat (or Republican) before you can pick up a ballot to vote in the party primaries.

Let’s ditch the delegates–super, pledged, and otherwise–and just do it by popular vote. The person who wins the most votes from fellow/sister Democrats is the winner, then.

Indyanna, thanks for your further thoughts about Chicago. I’ve always found that convention/hotel neighborhood very cold and corporate, with that weird park across the street that seems so uninviting–was it always that way, or did Daley Sr. do a Baron Hausmann on Chicago after ’68 to make sure no hippies could erect barricades in the streets?

By: Indyanna Thu, 10 Apr 2008 02:31:56 +0000 Just a few footnotes on what the recently-demised Norman Mailer called the “Siege of Chicago” in 1968. There may have been some “tear-gassing [of] people” near the convention itself, but by far the biggest body of demonstrators didn’t get anywhere near the convention, which was held in some antiquated and rickety armory well south of the Loop. The main battlefront was on Michigan Avenue near the Hilton Hotel, which I think was the official DNC headquarters. It was the determination of Daley’s cops not to let the marchers pass that point or to approach the convention that set off the bloodiest brawling. And it was there, at Michigan and Balbo, that demonstrators were pushed through plate glass windows into the laps of amazed conventioneers sitting exactly there where the AHA has often since met. It was more than teargas that leaked onto the convention floor. A much younger than we can imagine Mike Wallace, reporting for CBS, was in his own words “roughed up” on the floor just outside of camera range when trying to interview some party honcho. As noted above, the Vietnam war was thoroughly and undisputably the Democrats’ albatross. Nixon won partly on the strength of a claimed “secret plan” to end it. (Which presumably was to wait until 1972 and then bomb Hanoi and Haiphong off the map).

Don’t remember the “don’t vote” part, but there was an
effort to put Eugene McCarthy on the New York State ballot and maybe others that fall, that was derailed only when he refused to allow it, and the NY Sec. of State ruled that he couldn’t be involuntarily listed on the ballot. Humphrey couldn’t bring himself to break with the lame-duck Johnson, and thereby was doomed. Not sure if the left had much responsibility. And has anyone documented “looting” in Chicago that August?

By: BEW Thu, 10 Apr 2008 00:25:50 +0000 Hisoriann,

I was 16 when Nixon won in 68. Although I was aware of politics with Johnson, I really came of age politically with Nixon. (I don’t really have any political memories of Kennedy.) I learn, from both Johnson and Nixon, that politicians are all too human. You should never fall in love with one as they will disappoint you and break your heart. Watch what they do, not just what say. While they can do great things, you must always watch them, both Democratic and Republican. The Republicans, in my experience, are always worse about going extraconstitutional( think imperial presidency/unitary executive).

If I could reform the way we select Democratic candidates, I would do way with caucuses, and just use primaries. I like the winner take all approach. Open primaries would be OK but you would have to register a month or two in advance. No democrat for a day primaries. And everyone has a chance to vote; no pemalizing voters for the mistakes of officials.

Of course, I am not holding my breath…

By: David Wed, 09 Apr 2008 21:58:58 +0000 Democrats don’t start wars anymore, they merely enable them.

By: Historiann Wed, 09 Apr 2008 19:21:27 +0000 es–thanks for visiting and commenting. The Dems this year have a big advanage over 40 years ago, in that this war is not their war in the way that Vietnam was very much the Democrats’ war in 1968. (Then, with Nixon’s win, it became everyone’s war.) It would be good if Democrats would remember who precisely is responsible for Iraq and the mismanagement of Afghanistan, and remember that McCain is campaigning on “staying the course.”

The Democratic Party: Often ineffectual, but at least we don’t go around starting illegal wars (anymore).

By: es Wed, 09 Apr 2008 16:27:40 +0000 I’m not a historian, but I lived in Chicago during the 1968 convention. Lets remember what it was like: we had massive anti-war protests in the streets, looting and vandalizing of property in downtown Chicago, and out of control police dept. and Mayor Daley (the first one, not the one in control now) cursing other delegates and the press for reporting on it. The police were so out of control that they were tear-gassing people in front of the convention center, some of it leaked into the building itself. The reporters on the floor of the convention spent most of their time asking delegates what they thought about how the anti-war protesters where treated. There was condemnation of Daley from the floor, and the whole city was on virtual lock down.

I think that had more to do with the republicans winning than anything else. Also there was a concerted “don’t vote” effort by some on the left.

We on the left blew it.

By: David Wed, 09 Apr 2008 02:11:41 +0000 I just want to say that I agree with Historiann that it would be bad for Obama if Clinton just “left the race” right now. He needs to beat her. I think that will happen in NC and IN, but we’ll see.

And my point on the superdelegates was that they should be dumped after this election. Of course they are a part of the process now, but they shouldn’t be. If the contest was to clinch a majority of pledged delegates, the math would be much simpler (and fairer) and there would be a clearer endline in sight. The superdelegates simply encourage a lot of backroom dealing.

If there had been no supers this election, what we would see now would be a situation where Obama would have a clear, almost insurmountable, lead, but Clinton could keep making her case until he clinched the thing, which wouldn’t be until near the very end.

Also, I don’t think the Dems settled too early. Kerry was blowing away the competition, and scored a clear victory on Super Tuesday. No one was going to catch him, everybody knew it, so they dropped out. The dynamics were very different four years ago than they are now.