Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Un-Democratic party

I never gave much thought to my party affiliation until I moved to Florida. I've voted mostly Democratic, of course, but I rather (in)famously supported Ralph Nader's Green Party run for president in 2000 and felt no need to officially tie myself to the Democratic Party, either in ideology or official paperwork. But when I moved here I realized I had to, or I wouldn't be allowed to vote in a primary, as per state law.

I'm still a registered Independent, as a quick Lexis-Nexis search could tell you. I'd planned on changing that status to Democrat before the primary, but it's starting to look like it won't matter. That's right ... in the great spirit of American democracy, it's one person, one vote that doesn't get counted.

This is happening in Florida, appropriately enough, but other states are having their run-ins with the DNC, too. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and my man John Edwards withdrew from the Michigan primary Tuesday, after the state Democratic party decided to move the state's primary to a date that conflicts with Iowa and New Hampshire laws (not to mention the very Constitution of New Hampshire) that dictate their caucus/primary be first.

While I'm not opposed to the idea that there is inherent inequity in the staggered-primary system, this is the wrong fight for the wrong time. The Democrats look like a party that is so racked with infighting that it can't even decide when to hold its elections. The Republicans are having their troubles with this issue as well, and indeed it is not simply a in-party matter when The Detroit News starts referring to Iowa and New Hampshire as "pipsqueak states" in an editorial.

But the hue and cry over this issue is no louder than within the Democratic Party itself, which is in danger of alienating voters not just within in the states involved but everywhere that people can see a political party in disarray, focused not on using Congressional power to end a pointless and debilitating war in Iraq, not on curbing a president run amok, and not even on preventing the same party that spawned George W. Bush from electing another of his ilk, or worse.

And now you understand I've waited so long to affiliate myself with the Democrats.

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