Primaries are Special Elections

I know a lot of people who are upset at the corruption in our government, both state and federal. The font from which corruption draws its succor is of course government spending. That is, the more money government spends, the more that will be spent on patronage, graft, cronyism, and bribery. People who want ever more spending from government may not like this connection, but the connection is very real.

I know only a few people who are actively trying to do something about these things. Those are the ones I empathize with the most. They are not just complaining about it, they are attempting something like self-government. The people who run the looting-machine that government has become hate it when citizens organize and try to self-govern. They have constructed an elaborate series of ruses and obstacles to prevent that from happening. Hold that thought while I bring to mind another recurring problem…..

Special Elections are routinely used by the insiders to pass tax increases and borrowing schemes which would not pass in a general election. The idea is that even though these tax increases benefit only a few at the expense of the majority, the people most directly benefiting from the tax increase are highly motivated to show up and vote for it. Those who are paying for it are only being robbed of a little bit each so they have less to gain from voting. Thus the promiscuous use of special elections leads to more taxes, spending, and government than most voters approve of.

Now those of us who actually want to do something are divided into two schools of thought. Some think that we should “take over” the Republican Party and make it do what it has claimed to stand for over the last five decades. Others of us, me included, think that it is one of those ruses designed to sap the energy and money of those seeking to limit government and it has proven that so many times that by now we should realize that it is time to start something new. It is easy to show that a national political party is the wrong sort of vehicle if your goal really is to limit government.

What this boils down to tactically is that some think that the way to change things is to enter “outsider” candidates in a party primary. I think taking on a party’s favorite candidate in their own primary is the worst possible place you could challenge them. The filing fee of your candidate will wind up going to the campaign of the establishment guy you were hoping to beat!

If you will think about it, a primary election is a “special election”. And like all special elections, those who disproportionately benefit from the current system have more incentive to show up and vote than the average voter who is only being robbed “a little bit each time”. For example, imagine that there was a special election whose purpose was put a one-time $2 tax on every American to give $100 of tax money to every American with an Irish surname. You might think this proposal highly unfair and are against it, but it is worth more than $2 of trouble for you to take time out and go vote, so maybe you don’t vote. Murphy and Finnegan will show up to vote! Twice each if election official O’Donnell will let them get away with it.

The exact same argument as to why we should not have special elections is the same reason we should not try to change things by going through the primary of a corrupt party whose leaders band together against honest people and whose primary elections are dominated by those on the take. And since the Democrats rarely have contested primaries the Democrat voters on the take will not hesitate to cross over and vote for the establishment Republican in order to freeze out a challenger who threatens the gravy train. Remember the Trent Lott vs. McDaniel senate primary in Mississippi a few years ago?

Party primaries are special elections, and special elections are the life-blood of special interests. If you want to take on the establishment of a party, do it smart, do it in the general, not in their own primary! I mean, conservatives have been putting all of their eggs in the Republican basket since the 1980s and its only gotten worse not better. Isn’t it time to invest just a little bit of effort into something else? My friends and I at Neighbors of Arkansas have a plan to do just that, and we invite you to help by getting nine of your friends to sign a petition to put an alternative on the ballot. Or you can keep doing the same thing people have been doing for the last fifty years and expecting a different result…..


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