Primaries, should they be “open”?
Open primaries are not a good idea. I am for having multiple Parties on our ballots. I am against the concept of “open primaries”. Open primaries place all candidates on the same ballot. The top two in terms of votes are on the ballot in the general election.
First of all I would like to know something about any candidate running as their are so very many, and so very many positions to fill. Party affiliation tells me something about every candidate on the ballot.
Secondly I am afraid that with many running more and more might be elected solely by name recognition, or perceived name recognition.
Thirdly this approach might mean that the dominant political affiliation in a state would garner more candidates to run thus ending up with a situation where only the top two Democrats or Republicans would be the only choices voters would have in the general election.
Plus how could this work in a presidential year election with some states having one of each party on the ballot and some states having the top two candidates perhaps from the same party?
Real choice in politics should come from having multiple parties on the ballot. That way we know something about each candidate from their party affiliation. Having a multi-party affiliation would tend to mean more than it does now with just a two party set up.
We could further democratize this situation by having only signatures on a petition as the sole way that any party can appear on a general election ballot. Only signatures on a petition should determine the placing of candidates on ballots in primary elections. No money should be allowed in getting a candidate to appear on a ballot. All parties with sufficient signatures for all their candidates, and with contested races, should be allowed to hold primaries.
Caucuses are important ways in which political party members communicate between themselves. They allow party members to educate themselves regarding candidates and politics in general. Caucuses should not be done away with, just made more democratic.
Taking this approach we could have issue based political parties that could help make politics more issue based, and give voters a real sense of the intentions of candidates.
There are many issues that a majority of all Americans agree about which get lost in the back room politics of the two major parties. This can reduce such issues to notes in some political platform about which almost no one in the general voting public would know.
Thus I believe that multiple parties on a ballot and removing money from the equation of who is a candidate is a far better solution. This way we can better democratize and improve our government than by using an open primary approach.
David “Mitch” Sotelo