A plan for a consequential March 8 primary was blown up by the state Democratic Party.
IMAGINE: Washington is now two-and-a-half weeks away from our turn in the presidential primary circus.
An upcoming March 8 presidential primary puts Seattle’s $15 minimum wage experiment squarely into the Hilary Clinton-Bernie Sanders race.
Republican voters get to see Donald Trump’s spray tan up close and pepper candidates about real solutions for the immigrant laborers without documents at work in Washington’s fields. Hanford cleanup and Pacific Rim trade deals are thrust onto the national debate stage.
None of that is going to happen.
Instead, Washington’s opportunity to pick presidential candidates is a twisted political pretzel.
The first twist comes Saturday, when Republicans hold party caucuses. But those caucuses are meaningless to the public because the GOP instead is allocating delegates based on a May 24 statewide primary. Using the primary is a good thing.
That May primary, however, is one of the last in the nation, probably too late to draw national candidates out to the Pacific Northwest. The futility of the primary is compounded by the fact that it is merely a beauty contest for Democrats, because that party is allocating delegates based on March 26 caucuses.
The chance to untwist this pretzel — to have a consequential March 8 primary — was erased by the state Democratic Party. The Democratic majority in the state House blocked a bill that would’ve moved the primary — set in state law at the fourth Tuesday in May — to March 8. The party then refused Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s request last August to voluntarily move up the primary.
The party likes the organizing power of caucuses — the 2008 Democratic caucuses drew 250,000 voters (Obama won with 54 percent). But a Feb. 19 presidential primary that year drew nearly 1.4 million voters (McCain and Obama won) and is a purer, more voter-friendly exercise in democracy.
In shutting off an early, meaningful primary, the Democratic Party put its own interests above voters’. We lost out this cycle.”
In shutting off an early, meaningful primary, the Democratic Party put its own interests above voters’. We lost out this cycle.
Let’s not repeat the mistake in 2020.