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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Closing gap in two-party system creates complications

Saturday, March 24, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

The two-party system is not a closed system.

In Missouri, primary elections — and, to a lesser extent, caucuses — are vulnerable to party crashers.

A state senator has offered legislation designed to plug gaps in the primary process. The proposal, if nothing else, shows the difficulties of securing the system.

In our two-party system, members of each major political party — Democrat and Republican — select the party’s nominee through a caucus or primary.

At caucuses, like those held last week by Republicans, attendees are asked to certify party allegiance. This honor system does not guard against deceitful intruders.

Primaries are even more porous.

Selection of a party’s nominee may be — and routinely is — influenced by voters not among the party faithful.

Primary voters are asked their party preference at the polling places.

Independents and unaffiliated voters may select the more interesting, contested races. These voters are identified by the refrain: “I vote for the person, not the party.”

In addition, members of one political party have been known to infiltrate the opposing party’s primary, in an effort to advance a weaker challenger to the general election.

State Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, has proposed legislation to tighten party affiliation requirements in primaries.

Under his bill, voters would be required to declare party affiliation when they register to vote. Voters would be permitted to change their affiliation, but would need to do so in advance of the election, not at the polling place on election day.

Under questioning, Wasson admitted the issue of independent voters “is one of the points I’m wrestling with now.”

And, asked whether all taxpayers should finance party-specific primaries, Wasson conceded “that’s not an unreasonable point.”

Further complicating the proposal is the estimated cost provided by the Legislative Research Committee’s Oversight Division, which attached a price tag of almost $2.4 million in the 2012-13 business year, and another $26,615 in each of the following two business years.

Although Wasson acknowledges his bill may not make much legislative progress, it raises issues worthy of discussion.

Those issues are at the core of how the people — partisans and independents — act, react and interact in selecting our representatives and leaders.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.


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Comments

Ron Lewis April 17, 2012 | 10:10 a.m.

Our two party system is a good idea, we just need we the people to get picky who we put in charge. Our system represents the liberal and conservative values but in fact it is the Smith vs. The Jones. One sees the other as in control of the economic control of wealth in the USA and around the world. We The People are Pawns who being lied to and being deceived by these very wealthy on both sides of the morality values issues. One side supports killing babies, alternative life style Marriage legality law changing. One group pretends to support these liberal issues but once in total control we will all be their subjects of revenge and radical social dictatorial changes. I can only say that in a world where evil roams and is supported by one of these that would force laws on the legal and just citizens (Obamacare) an this article that follows from Bob Livingston news letter is this: (The Drugs No Senior Should Ever Take. In 1991, a team from Harvard Medical School identified 20 drugs too dangerous for use by elderly patients. Then they found out that 23% of seniors are receiving these very drugs. And the Journal of the American Medical Association said this study was merely the tip of the iceberg. They were right. Now the list has grown to several dozen drugs. Congress was so disturbed it asked its watchdog agency, the General Accounting Office, to look into it. Using Medicare data, the GAO found over 17% of the elderly receive unsafe drugs.) (My comment: Ok Elderly do you really what the killers of the young unborn newborns giving You your Medication or controlling the legislation. I can see a law that would end an old persons life for certain reasons, they will say it is for the good of the rest of society. I bet those in power will pass out the 6 point star to certain people. I can't trust anyone who can kill a life or one who supports killing the life of an unborn baby, how about you Obama, Pelosi, Gore, Harkin. The libs don't like to see war and our soldiers die and neither do conservatives but it happens. The libs don't mind killing the unborn however and the conservatives oppose it. I want everyone who believes in God to search your heart and let God direct you who to vote for in November, whether you are hispanic, black, white, oriental, america indian, what ever your ethnic group if you you believe in God we are all brothers and sisters for the Holy Bible Gods word says so.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 17, 2012 | 1:15 p.m.

A pretty good case can be made that a Two Party System is far superior to a One Party System. Stated differently, there needs to be at least two viable political parties. Typically, Western European and other reasonably representative world governments (Japan, Australia, etc.) have more than two political parties.

The horrors of pain, suffering and death brought on the world by One (Single) Party governments during the 20th Century are well documented.

"A democracy unsatisfied [by support of the people] cannot long survive... We live in probably the most turbulent and tormented times of the history of this nation. Criticize... disagree, yes, but also we have as leaders an obligation to be fair and keep in perspective what we are and who we hope to be." - John B. Connally, Jr.[R] Secretary of the Treasury (1972)

I doubt whether either Jefferson or Lincoln could have been more eloquent or to the point than that.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 17, 2012 | 1:50 p.m.

Actually, we have dozens of political parties. It's just only two have received enough popular and financial support to run electable candidates.

Ron Lewis wrote:

"Our two party system is a good idea, we just need we the people to get picky who we put in charge."

We'll likely have a choice between two centrists this election, and only two. "We the people" don't really have any other choices, and this is something that's gone on for a long time. Supporting a third party candidate wastes your vote.

It's unusual that we have a choice between radically divergent candidates. Americans don't elect fringe candidates. There is far less difference between the two major parties in practical terms than one is led to believe by exaggerated election year rhetoric.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 17, 2012 | 2:56 p.m.

"Americans don't elect fringe candidates." Should read, "Americans don't Want to elect fringe candidates."

They do, too often, because our Constitution gives any of us the right to say anything we perceive necessary to gain an end. Republicans are trying to get Romney to show that he is conservative, not centrist. Democrats are trying their best to con folks into belief that their #1 Socialist is centrist.

R's do it because conservative is what they want. Democrats do it, knowing acting centrist is the only way a liberal can win any election!

Johnson to show he was "centrist" proclaimed no way would Vietnam War be expanded, to show difference between he and Goldwater the "radical fringe" candidate who wanted to win the conflict and get it over with. President Johnson soon dreamed up a fictitious attack on our navel forces in the Gulf of Tonkin and away we went! "In 1965, President Johnson commented privately: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."

If paying attention and learning the truth (not as "perceived" from one source) and acting on that basis is "to get picky who we put in charge.", I'm in complete agreement.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 17, 2012 | 3:32 p.m.

frank christian wrote:

"Republicans are trying to get Romney to show that he is conservative, not centrist. Democrats are trying their best to con folks into belief that their #1 Socialist is centrist."

Well, no. David Duke was a fringe candidate. Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich were fringe candidates on the other side. Ron Paul and Sarah Palin are "fringier" than any of the three front running GOP candidates, and you see where they are now. We will decide between two centrists in November - why would Romney need to show he is a conservative if he hasn't been showing it all along? Why isn't Gingrich or Santorum the front runner? Moderates tend to get our vote.

Obama is not a socialist. He was a great disappointment to a lot of progressives in many ways. He's a little left of center, Romney's a little right of center, and I'd imagine either one would do an OK job (or not, depending on forces largely out of their control).

"(not as "perceived" from one source)"

I get my news from all over. However, I don't only accept news that I agree with. If I don't agree with something politically, but it seems to be true, well, it's true.

DK

(Report Comment)
frank christian April 18, 2012 | 8:48 a.m.

Each of the two parties, D & R, are hoping and planning on big changes for our country imposed by their Presidential candidate and the Congress they hope to win. D's to be more successful with Ultra socialist programs and mandates that failed previously (the only reason they are dissatisfied, now with Obama.) and R's whom, for the good of our country want to stop and reverse the whole agenda. Neither is counting on any middle of the road "Centrist" to do this for them.

If the referral to "fringe" is in reference to Senator Goldwater and you don't know that he was pictured by liberals as the "Devil himself" for this election (he stayed away from a gathering after the election rather than risk another unpleasant "booing"), then your sources of info are still lacking.

Your opinion V mine. I like mine better!

This sort of reached out to me. "I'd imagine either one would do an OK job (or not, depending on forces largely out of their control)." For those in control of the gov't of the U.S.A., little, except time, would be "out of their control"!

(Report Comment)
Ron Lewis April 18, 2012 | 2:21 p.m.

The problem is simple, its the people who have no idea of fairness, doing what's right and proper. Watch the judge shows on TV, watch Jerry Springer or Maury Povich and read the news paper or listen to the news if you can believe some of the manipulated stories. I went to the state fair and people watched and I don't mind saying this country is blessed with some improper and unethical dim wits. The two main party system is a good thing as the unmentioned other party's have platforms your average descent moral US citizen would never vote for. What we need is a change in the values, ethics of people, we need people to be responsible law abiding treating others how they would like to be treated. Way to many who were raised without proper guidance and disciple. I know some would disagree but many facts support the truth of the epidemic of to many dishonest, cheaters, liars, dead beats who sponge off others because they feel the owes them a living.

(Report Comment)

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