Why the Primaries Matter
By Ed Hoffman
As my radio listeners know, one of my biggest pet peeves is the collective refusal of people to pay attention to the events of our electoral process. Those events include everything from town halls and rally stops to televised debates and state primaries.
Of course, I understand presidential candidates aren’t likely to hold rallies here or town halls anywhere near our area. That’s one of the unfortunate disadvantages to being a voter in California: Republican candidates think they can’t win us over. We aren’t a red state, so they aren’t worried about losing our votes to another Republican – and we aren’t a swing state, so they know they’ve already lost our vote in the general election. What we are is a blue state, a state that plays our part in electing disastrously liberal candidates for every office imaginable. If you were a Republican candidate for President, would you come here? I wouldn’t waste my time.
What we can do as voters, even in California, is stay informed every step of the process. From the moment the lineup of candidates is established, we can start researching each one. During each pre-primary debate, we can listen intently and form our opinions. And now, with the primaries underway (New Hampshire being last night), we should amp up our attention levels because we are getting closer to selecting a nominee. If you’re a Democrat, fine; you have more time on your hands to explore the idea of voting for a Republican. Don’t knock it until you try it!
When I listen to political analysts, I hear the same line over and over in regards to polling: “Who knows if these people will show up to vote in the primary? People don’t really start paying attention until there’s a nominee.” Sadly, they’re correct; there are too many voters who sit out the primaries and let other people select their party’s nominee. Don’t let that be you this year.
What goes on prior to Super Tuesday matters because every primary gives us the opportunity to see what these candidates are really about. Last week, Ted Cruz was so desperate to win the Iowa Caucus that he turned a blind eye to his campaign engaging in some very dirty politics. This week, Chris Christie is making news for calling Marco Rubio out on his penchant for robotically repetitive speeches – but by the time you read this, both Christie and Carly Fiorina will have suspended their campaigns. These are the things we need to be aware of, and the events surrounding the primaries before ours give us a chance to gain that awareness. They also give us the chance to raise awareness among the people we know – which is our responsibility, if we are already informed voters.
In California, our primary is not until June 7. By then, the nominees will already be “decided,” albeit unofficially until both parties hold their conventions in July. Regardless, we can hit this election hard by urging our friends and family to get informed – because maybe, if we do it enough, California could eventually become a swing state. If that happens, we’ll never feel like saying “my vote doesn’t count” again.
Ed Hoffman is host of The Main Event on AM590, which airs Saturday 9:30 AM- 10:30 AM and Sunday 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM. Follow him on Twitter @EdHoffman, and like him on Facebook by searching The Main Event 590.