Marginalizing the idiot vote
If I actually get around to voting in the presidential primaries next spring, it'll be my first time actually voting in one, even though I've been old enough to vote since the 2000 election.
Part of the problem is that, like Talib Kweli and the guy who draws the Boondocks, I could give a rat's ass about voting anyway. Not that I don't think people should take part in the political process, but I read too much to think that voting can change anything. Also, if I remember correctly, these things are usually pretty much decided by the time it's Missouri's chance to vote.
The way these primaries work, if you live in Iowa, which I believe has the first primary, your vote counts way more than if you live next door here in Missouri. And if you live New Hampshire or South Carolina, which also have early primaries, your votes also count way more than anyone else in the country. By the time those few states have voted, the race could be all but decided.
Why is this the case? I'm not sure. Freshman-level government is the only class I ever flunked in college - because I forgot I was in the class and didn't show up for like a month. For what it's worth, I showed up for the finals, and I'm pretty sure I had a high enough percentage to at least. But you know how college professors can flunk your ass on GP.
Anyway, the way our system is set up is especially unfortunate, since, why should those states dictate which candidates from the two major parties get to run for president? I don't know that any of them is representative of everywhere else in the country, and South Carolina in particular is apparently overrun with idiots. How else to explain this story in the Times the other day about the outreach the Obama campaign has been doing in black beauty parlors down there.
The gist of the story is that Obama has been sending his campaign workers into these places, because you know how black people tend to form their political opinions in hair salons rather than, say, the library or whatever. But many of the black women in these places are still leaning towards Hillary, because a) she's a woman, b) because she's married to Bill Clinton, and c) they're afraid Obama will be assassinated by the CIA, Lyndon Johnson, and the military-industrial complex. Just like JFK. No, really.
You might just want to read the whole thing, but here's a few representative quotes, to give you an idea of the kind of people who will be deciding the fate of our democracy, and, by extension, the fate of the entire free world.
Here's an old black lady named Miss Clara (I wonder if she's also a psychic) on how she plans to save Barack Obama's life by not voting for him:
“I fear that they just would kill him, that he wouldn’t even have a chance,” she said as she styled a customer’s hair with a curling iron. One way to protect him, she suggested, would be not to vote for him.
Here's another old black lady named Betty McClain on the fact that Hillary has already been president once:
“She’s already been president before,” Ms. McClain said approvingly, dismissing Bill Clinton’s role in his own administration. “He was just there,” Ms. McClain said of Mr. Clinton. “He was just the husband, that’s all. She really ran the country.”
And here's a lady named Maria Hewett, who provides some historical perspective on the fact that Barack Obama will be shot as soon as he takes office:
“Things happened with presidents in the past, and they weren’t African-Americans,” Ms. Hewett said, sitting in one of two big barber chairs, her hair in curlers. “President Kennedy was a good person, and somebody took him down,” she said, prompting a chorus of “that’s true, that’s true.”
That's true, that's true, indeed.
Which brings me to my point: If we're going to have this system of staggered primaries by state, which doesn't make that much sense to me anyway, why not have them in order of intelligence? Start out up in Taxachussetts and then make your way down either of the coasts, then out to the Midwest. No state in the South should be allowed to state their opinion until the course of the election is all but decided.
Would that not be a much better system than the one we have currently?