By Janet Walgren
Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary election and I couldn’t be happier. I know this will irritate some of my family and friends who are diehard Republicans; however, I am not at all satisfied with the way the Republicans have handled themselves for the last eight years.
I am happy that Hillary won because there were too many people trying to short circuit the process in favor of a man who I feel is too young and inexperienced to lead our country. I think that there are too many unknown factors surrounding Obama and his supporters many who would assume important positions of responsibility if he is elected. And, voting for another Republican is unthinkable to me unless Obama is on the opposing ticket.
I would like to see a year of primary campaigning without a single election where all who want to run could run. At the end of the year, I would like to see an election with open tickets where everyone could make a choice (have one vote) to determine which candidates would win the primary. I would also like to see a process for counting the votes that refrained, or was restrained by law, from announcing winners until the following day after all the votes have been cast. I would also restrain all media from exit polling and forecasting until the voting all across the country was over.
What would this accomplish? For one thing, everybody would have an equal chance to determine which candidates were on the ticket. No one state would be more important than another. In my opinion, there were too many good men knocked out of the race on the Republican ticket before they really had a chance to begin the process. I’m all for 15 rounds or 9 innings (a tough fight) where the competitors had to endure to the end. It would insure that all candidates had to face the heat and be examined under a national microscope. A primary with only one candidate on the ballot is a farce. We see that in other countries and see what it gets them.
When each state votes separately, candidates can go around and make promises that contradict other promises they have made. The accountability is lacking because yesterday’s promise was to yesterday’s voter. There is no accountability to yesterday’s voters when today’s promises are different and contradictory.
Another advantage that I see in the universal primary is that it would help serve to dis-empower the media. The media would find it much more difficult to play favorites in an effort to knock one candidate out of the ring in support of their favorite. When there are more critical voices evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate pool, the flaws of each candidate would be more apparent and the candidates would have to be more thoughtful and explicit about their individual platforms. All in all, I think that this kind of campaign reform would be beneficial for our government.
Along with the primary reform, I would like to see a cap on campaign spending… each candidate is allowed a certain number of minutes on TV, radio, and the Internet. There would be a limit on all communication during the primary so that all the candidates would have a level playing field. Limits would also cause the candidates to measure their words carefully because every word would count. And, I would love to see a written platform published by each candidate when they register to run for office.