April 26, 2016
State Political Parties Make Their Own Rules
This cycle has seen the rise of Donald Trump, a candidate who doesn't fit the central casting mold. He is unusual and bold, brash and unapologetic in his statements. Yet he is not without precedent. We are witnessing the rebirth of the populists, nothing more.
The political structure with which most of us are familiar is in truth a relatively new thing. People think of primaries as full-blown elections. They are not. The word that appropriately precedes "primaries" is "party." These are party primaries, designed by political parties to choose the candidate behind whom the party intends to coalesce support for the real election – the general election.
For most of our nation's history, primaries were not the method of choice for determining nominees.
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Parties can choose their nominees in whatever methods that state chooses – with a party primary election, a caucus or convention, or, as done in Colorado, with a decision by party leadership. As long as the established rules are followed, these choices are the business of the party, not the general public, who gets their say in November.
This is one of the reasons our founding fathers eschewed party structures, hoping instead for ideological constructs based on merit and competence, not on membership. In other words, they wanted the best candidate to emerge from among many by virtue of having been lifted above the others by a groundswell of public support.
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There are those who believe that each of us should be empowered to make his own decisions – for good or ill – finding our path to success or failure depending on our own efforts. Government exists to ensure we have that freedom by protecting the rights with which we entered this world from infringement by those who would "stack the deck" through corruption rather than merit.
The other side views individuals as messy pieces within a larger collective. Individual liberty must be suborned to collective goals, as determined by a central group of planners, who presumably know better than you how your life ought to be lived. To these, government exists to establish the definitions of success and then ensure that people receive it equally.
Of course, these myopic "Solomons" never assign such restrictions to themselves, as that would be far too limiting for them to achieve their utopian goals, which thankfully makes them easier to spot, as their neon hypocrisy shines like a "vacancy" sign on a lonely nighttime highway.
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Whenever we resort to absolutes to make sense of a circumstance that are anything but absolute, we are setting ourselves up to be either proven wrong in an embarrassingly public way or proven right at the cost of losing close friends and associates.
There is very little in this life that is all of one thing and none of another – and nothing illustrates this more than politics, where little is ever as it seems anyway.
The parties make their rules and choose their methods for determining a nominee. One candidate making more effective use of those rules isn't "cheating" or "stealing"; he is merely making more effective use of the rules, just as their opponent might've.
April 20, 2016
What We Sow in Spring, We Shall Reap in Fall
By Joe Herring