Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

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Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

Post by Phil White » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:31 pm

Trying to follow exactly what's going on in the US, today in particular, I've been trying to get my head round the actual selection rules. It seems to me that there are about as many ways of doing it as there are states. ( ... _works.php).

So in some states, it would be theoretically possible for a significant number of supporters of one party to vote for the worst candidate from the other party to skew the results, particularly if it seems that their preferred candidate from their own party is safe and dry in that state. Does stuff like this actually happen? Indeed, do the primaries happen at all or are they merely a figment of our diseased collective imagination?

Does anyone know of a site that gives a breakdown of how each state orgainzes its primaries (or caucuses as the case may be).

A confused Brit.
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

Post by gdwdwrkr » Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:04 pm


Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:15 pm


Have a look here: ... es%2C_2008 ... es%2C_2008

You may not glean everything you wanted to know, and you may not end up any wiser, but eventually you should be better informed.

One thing that can be confusing for anyone who is used to the decades-long British colour convention that assigns blue to the Conservatives and red to the Labour party is that in the USA the opposite is the case -- the Democratic party is conventionally represented by blue (as in "New York is traditionally a blue state") and the Republicans by red. Which seems very odd, since red is by a much longer-standing tradition the colour of the Red Flag of the Socialist International that Tony Blair used to sing about with such, er, deliciously ironic relish, as well as of Soviet Russia and communist China.

The reason, so it appears, is partly explained in the Wikipedia article concerning the Democratic Party:

"Although both major political parties (and many minor ones) use the traditional American red, white, and blue colors in their marketing and representations, since election night 2000 the color blue has become the identified color of the Democratic Party, while the color red has become the identified color of the Republican Party. That night, for the first time, all major broadcast television networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map: blue states for Al Gore (Democratic nominee) and red states for George W. Bush (Republican nominee). Since then, the color blue has been widely used by the media to represent the party, much to the confusion of non-American observers, as blue is the traditional color of the right and red the color of the left outside of the United States (c.f. red for the Liberals and blue for the Conservatives in Canada, or red for Labour and blue for Conservative in the United Kingdom).

This account explains why there is a colour convention at all, but does not explain why the traditional socialist colour was chosen to represent the Republicans.
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Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

Post by dalehileman » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:25 pm

Phil: Boy, you can say that again. Here in La-La Land we had an awful misfortune with the primaries where thousands if not hundreds of thousands got the wrong ballot. It's supposed to be that if you're a Red of course you get the Rep ballot but if you're Blue or refuse-to-state you get the Dem ballot but somehow they got all mixed up.

Adding insult to injury, you will see I was somehow selected for the ultimate insult. Thanks to Erik for his pertinent post and herewith my recent Letter to the Op-Ed of our local Fourth Estate:

Dear Sirs:

Thanks to Ryan Orr for Some voters say affiliation was changed unwittingly Feb. 7, as I was beginning to think I too had inadvertently done something terribly wrong. Registered as decline-to-state, I had expected at least to choose among the Dems but somehow I found no candidates at all on my ballot.

Maybe, though, it’s a good thing because I couldn’t yet decide between Barack and Hillary. But in any case I’m looking forward to the day when voting can be done entirely through the auspices of the Internet, where problems of this sort can be easily correct by a quick change in software, thank you Bill Gates.

Incidentally, re Hillary’s wrong for the presidency Feb. 6 by Brian Devine, who asks, “How can our friends...take Hillary Clinton seriously?” maintaining that “She can’t sit with leaders of countries that want to do great harm to this country and stop crying” : Now, an occasional heartfelt tear is the sign of a sensitive soul while there’s nothing wrong with compassion in a President. However, notwithstanding my own weepy, Left-leaning, knee-jerk proclivities, I incline to agree with many observers of the U.S. Political Scene who maintain that she’s actually very hardhearted and only simulated the gusher to soften her image...

...while Obaba is accused by some of arrogance; though I’m not sure whether that isn’t a positive quality in our Maximum Leader. But if it comes down as a race between Hillary and John the Red (no pun), I’m seriously considering the latter for his stand on campaign contribution (euphemism for bribery) and earmarks (euphemism for pork). Seriously, in spite of his stand on Iraq and his recent abject capitulation to the Evangelical Right, bless them.

As long as we’re on the subject, by the way, it occurs to me that Mike and John were really the only two Republican candidates who seem at all real and sort of regret the withdrawal of the former in spite of his religious convictions.

Though I wasn’t disappointed when John the Blue gave out, because as you might have noticed, talking out of the right side of his mouth (literally, no pun) made him look like a car salesman, while the fact that he’s a lawyer didn’t help at all.

Yours for less somber Letters and an occasional touch of wit in the Op-Ed,

Dale Hileman
Apple Valley

PS: Hi again Phil--My own clever post notwithstanding, this is a vitally interesting thread so if there were any way you could list it on Home Page I'll bet you could get a number of further posts--Thanks again for all your efforts--Dale

Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:48 pm

Dale, You'd better inform Mike Huckabee with one of your e-mail algorithms that he has withdrawn from the race, because I don't think that he and the rest of the country are aware of that. And you should also tell him that you hope he doesn't feel you're a bad person for doing so and that Laverne is a lot smarter than you are and that if he does get elected president could he see to it that a law is passed that makes sure all your postings get bubbled to the top. (&lt)

Ken - February 8, 2008

Does anyone actually understand the primaries?

Post by dalehileman » Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:30 pm

Hi Ken good to hear from you again. When you wrote, "...inform Mike Huckabee with one of your e-mail algorithms that he has withdrawn from the race..." I was completely baffled until I watched Washington Week this evening and learned that Huckabee hadn't checked out quite yet and so you'll have to forgive an old coot on the threshold of senility if not Alzheimer's

I wouldn't care if they weren't bubbled clear to the top but irrepressible egotist that I am, if only they appeared briefly in the Home-Page list....

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