California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and GOP Assemblyman Chuck DeVore
California Republican Assemblyman responds to Flap’s post: President 2008 Watch: California Conservatives Move to Thwart Early California Presidential Primary
The February primary is not a sure thing. It will cost $90 million to hold, as it is a stand-alone affair. Further, the real reason for it is to extend term limits. There are enough Democrats who covet a leadership position that there may not be the two-thirds vote to place the term limits extension on the ballot. No term limits extension and â€” poof â€” the rationale for the election goes away. If no election, then how does California have a voice? I suggest awarding 53 of the 165 delegates at a convention in February 2008. It will cost the taxpayers nothing and it will make the candidates pay attention to California.
Oh, and before you dismiss the use of conventions in our representative democracy, please allow me to observe that it was a convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1860â€¦
All the best,
State Assemblyman, 70th District
Comment by Chuck DeVore â€” February 2, 2007 @ 1:55 pm
Thank you Asesemblyman DeVore for the comment.
Now, let’s look at your argument.
The Governor and Democrat Leaders of the California Legislature all support the move of the California Primary election from June 3 to February 5, 2008. The rationale to change the election is (Flap quotes the Governor):
“I mean, right now, think about it: We are the No. 1 state in the union, we’re the No. 1 place in the world, and yet we are kind of an afterthought when it comes to presidential campaigns…”
Granted the bipartisan nature of the agreement to move the primary has an ulterior motive: to change California term limit law to allow California Democrat Speaker Nunez and California Senate Pro Tem Don Perata to serve longer in their respective offices. The governor has a horse in this race as well since he could run for re-election from which he is now barred.
Therefore, the ticket of moving the California Primary election to February may be allowing the people to vote on a change of the term limit law.
Flap thinks the price of the ticket is not too high and allowing California voters have an early say on who will be their next President is worth the price of admission.
Now, the Assemblyman mentions the cost of the election – $90 million. Why not move the entire primary election from June until February. This would entail NO additional cost to Californians.
Granted this would piss off the special interests who wish more elections (with lower voter turnouts, too) to pass initiatives. And granted the existing members of the legislature would have to campaign longer in a general election race.
But, hell, the legislative and Congressional districts are gerrymandered anyway.
Again, a small price to pay for having a say in the Presidential race early.
The idea of changing the time honored California primary election system from direct election to part-election and part-caucus disenfranchises voters. Isn’t one of the goals of the parties to increase participation of voters in the electoral process?
Voter participation is already at all time lows and when GOP voters discover their vote only selects a portion of the GOP Presidential Convention delegates, how many do you think will stay home?
Lastly, you use the example of Abraham Lincoln. In 1860 there were already differences from today’s elections:
Women couldn’t vote
United States Senators were not directly elected.
In California, there were no initiative, referendum or recall.
So, Mr. Assemblyman times have changed and I will submit voters want to vote and “smoke-filled room” choice of delegates is best left in the past.
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