Friday, November 30, 2007

Primary Derby

With only a little over a month left until the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary and seeing as I've yet to shut up about how I'm from NH yet this semester, I thought I'd keep with the trend and relate my favorite political event to Texas politics.

Being a loyal Granite Stater and as big a fan of Bill Gardner as the next one, I would never propose a state try to move in front of NH in the nominating process, but living the better part of the last 7 years outside of NH has gotten me to thinking, maybe the world doesn't revolve around it and maybe other states ought to get a little more excited about primaries. Texas has a primary in March right now (see irrelevant). Just guessing but I would expect turnout somewhere around 10-20% give or take. When I cast my vote in 2004 I think the turnout was 80-90% on a day with a high of 20 degrees. People know when they matter and that's why New Hampshirites always make it out to vote. Seeing the disinterest in the process when all they're doing is rubber-stamping a nominee makes me think Texas ought to try and have an early primary and get more candidates to come here.

Right now the candidates do all come to Texas, to be fair, but they're not kissing babies or having town-hall meetings. They're flying into Houston and Dallas for $2300 a plate fundraisers and using the proceeds to tell Iowans how much they love their corn on TV. I think it'd be a little fairer if they let us ask them some questions and participate in the vetting process. I mean I'm not the biggest Texas pride guy there is, but this is the 2nd largest state in the union by either measure and you'd think that'd be good for some input in the presidential nominating process.

I wasn't wild about the idea of other states moving up but since they did and I don't live in IA or NH right now, I kind of like the idea of doing something more binding than slapping a bumper sticker on my car. I'd like to go out and cast a vote and have the feeling of not knowing who'll win until the news does results that night. The kind of excitement that everyone gets wrapped up in and follows and participates in like a football season or something. The difference is that people are getting excited about government and more people are participating in it. That's the goal. I think that kind of excitement of an important, binding election where your choices are more than A vs. B might be just the thing to cure some of the apathy here in Texas. It's the reason this average 24 year-old watches MSNBC like it's the superbowl everytime there's an election.


Jesusfreek said...

I agree with you here. I think that Texas should move its primary up. The way things are right now almost no one in Texas votes in the primary because the candidates have already been chosen by their parties based on the primaries in other states. If Texas want to have an active part in the primaries we need to have a voting date that is in January or late February. I agree that a political race that has more than two competitors would help improve the turn-out in our state. Maybe turn-out will increase if the voters actually had a chance to chose the candidate from their party to run for president.

Carrie said...

What Is Texas To Do?

I agree with the opinion stated in Swimming in a Sea of Red’s blog titled “Primary Derby.” When considering the already low voter turnout in Texas, it is obvious something needs to be done to get more involved. That said, our state faces obstacles. Presidential candidates on either side probably do not feel the need to pander to our great state because they know we swing right. Anyone running for office knows they need to put their time and resources into swing states. And as long as our state sits idly by, things will not change. The only time we will have a chance to see candidates will be at the $2300 a plate fundraisers previously spoken of.

So what is Texas to do? First, we should recognize our obstacles and find ways to work around them. Even though candidates know we swing right, we should still encourage them to come and have rallies and town hall meetings. Being a native Texan and not use to the treatment New Hampshirites, Iowans or other swing staters receive from candidates, having Rudy Giuliani or John Edwards in my living room seems unreal. Presidential candidates need to know Texans have questions too. And we should expect them to answer them on a more personal level. This problem also relates to another common problem. Most youth today feel they are overlooked by candidates who seem to give more time to older generations. This could be because older generations have bigger questions and appear to be more researched in their opinions. Young Americans are often viewed as flighty and undereducated. In the end, the loudest voices are often most heard. Texans should unite and take a stand for their most personal beliefs. Democracy works best when all voices are heard.

UTEX said...

In my fellow classmates blog the article Primary Derby has a few intresting facts and statements that I agree and disagree with. I do find it disappointing that Texas has a low turn out in the primaires compared to the other swing states. I do not find this alarming because it is the primaries. The votes that matter is the general election. I feel Texans do not care about the primamry unless a specific canidate intrest them from a specifc party.
Texas being a primary Republican state does not affect a canidates decision to visit regarding the primaries. The Democrats and Republicans elections are seperate so Texas tendency to lean on direction does not matter. I feel that it is a smart political decision to focus on the swing states and win their parties nomination first. Since Texas is such a big state a canidate would need to make several stops in many Texas cities to make an impact on state votes. In smaller states canidates can make one or two stops and cover the entire state and swing several votes their direction. It makes sense to me why Texas is not a main stop.Time is valuable to a canidate and one should go were time would be best spent. To make a trip important several days would need to be spent in this large states to see everyone. The people who vote in the primary elections tend to be educated people who research and find out about all the canidates on their own. If a Texan is going to take time out of their day to vote in an primary election a visit from a canidaite is not going to swing their vote. I do however feel a canidate should spend time in Texas before a general election when the voter turn out rate is larger and many people are only informed about the canidates through the media.