Eeny Meeny Miny Moe: Decision time in New Hampshire

Catch a candidate by the toe.

If he hollers, his name is Howard Dean.

But seriously, I’d like to point out one glaring problem with the primaries right now, encountered, today and tonight especially, in New Hampshire – something that may in fact point to a bigger issue among the greater voting public. We all know, and have heard it time and time again, that the New Hampshire primary is hugely important because about 40% of the Granite State’s electorate is independent, able to vote in either party’s primary. The truly alarming thing, though, is not the openness of this state in particular, but the spontaneous and arbitrary method with which many voters (especially those so undecided) tend to mark their ballots. Late Tuesday, a CNN report found that eighteen percent of NH Republicans and 15 percent of NH Democrats said they picked their candidate at, quite literally, the last second. On top of that, it’s patently obvious that Joe and Mary Ordinary of the independent electorate tend to weigh superficial evidence quite heavily when choosing a candidate, forgoing actual policy analysis and offering buzz-word-filled reasoning like, “I think [Candidate A] is a true patriot and is ready to lead our nation,” or, “In my opinion, [Candidate B] can really go out and accomplish all this talk about change.” Vague character judgment should play some role in the decision-making process, and it inevitable does, but it shouldn’t be the only variable considered. The haphazard manner in which so many political choices are made is evidence of widespread laziness and a complete misunderstanding of the importance of voting. If you’re not sure who you support, don’t vote. Neither should you vote because you want to “exercise a democratic right” or because making the trek down to Town Hall gives you the impression of having influence. Vote because Candidate A or B is offering a comprehensive political argument with which you agree – one that can’t necessarily be squeezed onto a bumper sticker or fit into a 30-sec advertisement.

Change, Experience, Courage, Strength, 9/11, Experience, Experience, Change again, Something About Leadership.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, That’s how the primary will most certainly go.

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2 responses to “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe: Decision time in New Hampshire

  1. First off, I would say that I completely agree with you. The majority of the voting public is not anywhere close to informed enough to make a decision, and the primaries, much like the general election, is decided on buzzwords, vague descriptions, and general feelings of comfort with candidates.

    That being said, I think the bigger problem, which you have hinted at, is the vicious cycle. BECAUSE we make our decisions based on these vague and insignificant points, that is all we get out of our leading candidates. Since I’d rather not drop a certain candidates name on the internet again *coughonrayaulpaycough* why don’t we look at candidates like Alan Keyes, or Bill Richardson, or Ralph Nader, or etc etc etc. Candidates that get up with definite stances on specific issues, candidates that express well rounded, well informed political philosophies, are run out of town by media and parties and voters for being alienating, for breaking up the country from large, general voting parties into divided sects; the problem is, this is the POINT of election.

    We are a united nation, but we are not a homogeneous nation. We have differences, and the general division between Democrat and Republican do not satisfy our greatest needs. We need people that will hardline the divisions, but since we vote so irregularly and inefficiently, people with those ambitions are not able to be elected.

    I simply think it is necessary to point out that the problems you have outlined above do not simply affect each election, they do not narrow the pool down from 3 candidates to the 1 candidate we may not want – it rips away at the entire system, and eventually renders us incapable of seeing a truly ambitious, defined candidate.

    Overall, very well said though, full agreement.

  2. The primaries are by no means accurate. They are a sampling of the population to see who is most electable. Even if a candidate is not educated about a certain candidate, they most likely know what the candidate looks like or stands for; and vote based on who they believe is the greatest chance of being elected or looks the most presidential.
    That being said, those successful in the early primaries, or before the primaries even begin could be upset on super Tuesday. (see Howard Dean and his breakdown) Giuliani seems to be struggling right now, but could still see some success since his name is likely still more recognizable than Romney. Huckabee had a surge recently (in part due to Chuck Norriss’s support), but now seems to be only a runner up at best. The primaries are arbitrary. Ron Paul still has a chance to finish near the top because of his vast networking, especially among young adults. Fred Thompson is in last place of those candidates with a chance at winning the nomination, and will likely drop out if he fails in South Carolina. But bear in mind, he is the most conservative candidate and could appeal to people like those in SC.
    Now some may find instances of flip-flopping in candidates such as Thompson, Romney and Giuliani. This accusation annoys me. Now Kerry did not know how to explain his flip-flopping and did not articulate his ideas. However, changing ones mind on an issue is perfectly alright in my book. Bush never changed his mind and that was his downfall. All politicians need to be open to ideas and changes in the world and society. So the best test to pick your favorite primary candidate is to judge their character, their truthfullness, the strength of their family and their success in life. Now of course, all candidates must be successful to be where they are: running for Prez. But look at Romney; he has had great success in business, as a governor and as the chairman of the Salt Lake City Olympics. He has also not been divorced as Giuliani has. It is important to look at the cnadidate’s life in making your choice. Of course their positions and platforms are important, but those positions may change after they become president, or they will not be successful in advocating their positions to congress. While it would be great for all primary voters to be educated about the candidate’s platforms, there is still 10 months left until the actual election. That is when indepenedents need to choose between the Republican platform and the Democratic platform.

    A few last remarks: I come from a state where independents cannot vote. I registered for my party at first mainly so I could vote in the primaries. I think this system is good. The primaries are for the actual Republicans and Democrats to pick their candidates. The election is where independents must choose a party and a platform to vote for. Hopefully the politically aligned citizens in my state choose a candidate for their party that is also appealing to independents, because the independents can swing the November vote.
    And one last tidbit that may have been mentioned many times before: Giuliani began to run against Hilary Clinton in 1999. Due to prostate cancer and marital problems, he withdrew from the race. Now he was beginning to trail Clinton in the polls (of course this is before his popularity skyrocketed after 9/11), so it is not obvious that he would have won a senate seat. However, if he did win, Hilary would not currently be running for president, and Giuliani may be an even stronger candidate.

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