Party animals

And here we go. We’ve been talking about the upcoming caucuses for a year. It was kind of funny, watching the national party leaders rearranging caucuses and primaries to give their states higher profiles in the selection of the nation’s next president—just a giant mess.

It actually made a little bit of sense that Nevada was moved up. It seemed the ethnically diverse West deserved at least some kind of input into the process of selecting a new-boss-in-chief.

But as we said before, the candidates and the national media were unable to see that the rules had changed, ever so slightly, and those caucusians in Iowa and primarians in New Hampshire still got all the attention, and we here in Nevada know little more about the candidates than has appeared in the national media. It’s not like many of the candidates gave more than token attention to the Silver State—hey, at least they had some family members to send our way.

But you know, we here at the RN&R have been somewhat guilty of buying into the hype brought into the state by our political parties. Because, when you get right down to it, who cares what the partisans think about who should run for president? All these earlier caucuses really did in Nevada was further entrench the Democratic and Republican parties, by further excluding us Greens, Libertarians, non-partisans, independents and vote-for-the-better-person types.

And that’s how Nevadans vote: We cross party lines as a matter of course. So, let’s break it down: In Nevada as of November 2007, there are 496,000 registered Democrats; 478,000 registered Republicans; 1,229,000 total registered voters. That means, 21 percent of registered voters don’t get to help choose—and there are more than 2.5 million people in Nevada. That means only 39 percent of the people in this state can participate in the caucuses. And of that 39 percent, people who work Saturdays won’t be there. And of that 39 percent, people who don’t have transportation won’t be there. And of that 39 percent, people who don’t feel like they know a candidate well enough to support him or her probably won’t be there. If you exclude all the people who won’t or can’t be there, is it possible the number that will be there could be higher than 6 or 7 percent?

So—not that we’re big into over/under betting around this office—does anyone outside of Nevada (or inside for that matter) really care what some 74,000 retired, biased and hyper-involved Democratic and Republican Party animals have to say?

There are 303 million people in this country.

Anyway, party on you Dems and GOPs. You’ll have your place in the spotlight next Saturday. We have every hope that the results of your exclusionary popularity contest generate bigger spots on CNN than last week’s levee break in Fernley. But you should know that certain of us non-partisans aren’t buying into your hype. We think that the selection process for president is too important, this and every time around, and any part of the process that tends to exclude people who want to participate is corrupt, anti-democratic and should be changed.