Primary reform

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

As I write this, tomorrow’s Election Day. There’s not a helluva lot that interests me about primaries in this state. I’m registered nonpartisan, so I don’t get to vote on most of the interesting stuff. I think that’s a problem, and our primary elections are in sore need of reform.

Independent voters tend to be the voters who decide elections, but they’re frozen out of primaries in this state. When the powers-that-be only allow political party enthusiasts to decide candidates, we tend to get strident primary elections that often move the most radical candidates of any party into the general election. This results in a general election in which voters like me say, “Jeez, you all kind of suck. But I’ll vote against the greater of two evils.”

It’s like this: Primary candidates must pander to the party line, and then they’ve got to keep their promises. You want to see what you get? Look at Capitol Hill in D.C.

Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District race is a good example. Sharron Angle’s been benefiting from ads paid for by the Club for Growth, which claims that Dean Heller and Dawn Gibbons are liberals. Now, again, since this is a primary race in Nevada, she’s only speaking to Republican voters. But the thing is, she’s only speaking to the Republican voters who are new to the state or to the political processes—the uncommitteds, the undecideds, the ignorants—because calling Dean Heller or Dawn Gibbons “liberals” is so far from the truth as to be libelous, if the word had any meaning in one of today’s elections.

There’s one positive to this, I suppose. Since the most party-line candidate wins the primary, I guess it tends to give us a clearer choice between the candidates come November.

On deadline and after the votes were counted: It appears that the so-called “liberal” conservative Dean Heller will now run against the centrist Jill Derby. Does that mean he owes a debt of gratitude to Angle?