20 October 2007

Parties Have Too Much Power

In a stunning blow to democracy, the South Carolina Democratic Party might keep Colbert off of their primary ticket. Story here.

Ok, so we know he's running as a joke. But the requirements that could keep Colbert off the ballot are much more serious. The SC Democratic Party states that the candidate must have spent a set amount of time actively campaigning in the state and be a "viable" candidate (viable as determined by the party's executive council). While this is not detrimental for Colbert (if he wanted to, he could turn this into an hour-long Colbert Report Special Edition), other candidates could run into serious issues. It is not far-fetched to say that Obama, as a black midwesterner, is not a viable candidate in the southern state famous for flying the Confederate Naval Jack over its statehouse into the 21st century (I was living in Columbia the year the flag was taken down), or that Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, besides having not spent much time campaigning in the state, but also coming in last in fund raising, are not viable candidates (total, the two have raised less than a quarter of what Clinton has raised, and of that, 90% goes to Kucinich) are not viable candidates.

Considering that party primaries (oddly, not in the Constitution) are all but vital to making it onto the ticket, to rule out a candidate in one state primary is an electoral death sentence and a major attack on free and fair elections (I just love that as an independent, I have not voice in primaries).

But then again, the entire party system is a barrier to democracy. This, however, is an discussion for another time.

Rock on.

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