Yesterday, I Tweeted my indignation that some SC counties consider the coming GOP presidential primary to be, as Adam Beam reported it, “a private election” that the state Republican Party should pay for.
That position is utterly indefensible. If any election should be publicly funded, this one should be. It is the ONLY chance for South Carolinians to have a voice in deciding who the president will be.
We know that South Carolinians who voted for the Barack Obama in November of that year will have zero effect on the electoral total, because in this red state, all the electors will go into the Republican column.
So this is it, your one chance to make a choice that has any effect. You don’t vote in the GOP primary, and you have no opportunity to influence the election. And the state of South Carolina owes its people that chance.
Yeah, I know that counties are extremely strapped for basic operating funds. As a public defender in Chester wrote to me in response,
The untold story of the budget the last few years is how strapped most counties have been. The parties ought to pick up the tab…
My office hasn’t received any additional county funding in years. I just see higher priorities locally than this.
I get that. And it’s fine with me if the only slightly less strapped state government (which is largely responsible for local governments’ inability to fund basic services) pays for the election.
The selection of the president is not the private property of political parties (nor pickled peppers). Although occasionally some partisans act as thought it were.
What we SHOULD do is have totally open primaries, meaning that you get to vote in both (when we have both). We should not be barred from voting in the Democratic primary because we voted that same day in the Republican, and vice versa. Every single voter in the state has a stake in who appears on that ballot in November, because one of those people is going to get elected. You should have a say in both of them.
For those of you who say this is nonsense, that of course it’s the choice of the parties whom they nominate, I say that’s the extent to which you have been brainwashed by these parties that hold a shared monopoly on public office in this country.
I won’t get my way on that any time soon. For now, I’ll just be grateful that we’re not yet required to register by party. And continue to expect my government to provide me with the opportunity to vote, at least to that extent.