The CT legislature has been considering a measure that would allow seventeen year-olds vote in primaries if they will be eighteen by the time of the general election. Some are for this, some are against. Those in favor cite fairness, those against use the "rules are rules" argument.
My position??? Sure, why not?!?
Now I know what you're going to say...I'm giving in to liberals. Perhaps they may think so, but I'm not giving in to anyone. I said "sure, why not" because it doesn't matter. These are primaries. Political parties are nothing more than private clubs trying to pick which of their members they wish to financially endorse for a particular political office. Let people vote at 10 in primaries. Hold contests for kindergarteners and let the one that draws the best picture of the White House pick the nominee. Survey Outer Mongolia while you're at it for all I care. It doesn't matter one bit whose opinion they get on who to nominate, as long as only citizens 18 and over vote in the general elections.
Facetious, you say? You betcha!
Illegal, not one damn bit.
The sad fact is that political parties have placed constrictions on elections by shutting out potential candidates. The Constitution does not mention political parties. In fact, the word "party" only appears four times in the entire document, but is used in a legal context, referring to a person, defendant or claimant. Now, that does not deny political parties the right to exist or to nominate one of their own for any political office.
It does, however, make plain that political parties are outside the normal workings of government and aside from their right to exist, have no specific or granted authority within the establishments of government. Some people think that the Speaker of the House or President pro tempore of the Senate is supposed to be from the party with the largest representation in each chamber. Uh-uh. It just always turns out that way because partisanship has become so prevalent in our government.
Remember the warning George Washington gave in his farewell address about the rise of political parties:
"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796
So, what does all this mean?
It means that parties may use any means they see fit (so long as they do not violate other established laws) to determine who they wish to nominate and support for office. If they want to allow seventeen year-olds to vote under certain restrictions, I say go for it.
If we want to see an end to partisanship, at least in presidential elections, one way might be for there to be a Constitutional amendment requiring that Presidential elections may not be set up along party lines. People running may belong to any party they desire, of course, but there can be no more "and the Democratic/Republican/Green nominee is..." If something like that were the process now, then the slate of candidates might look very different this year, indeed! You'd probably see Romney, Huckabee, McCain, Clinton and Obama all opposing each other - as well as a whole host others. Wow...REAL choice...what a concept.
I would also love to see a two step election process. The first election would be likely be an electoral split between several candidates. The second election would be a run-off between the two candidates who get the largest number of electoral votes in the first. Imagine that! It could actually be a final election where it's Hillary vs. Obama or Romney vs. McCain. Again, I say, why not - if that's how it turns out?
Again, real choice to decide. Oh, if only...
- New England, United States
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