“Editorial, March 1”

"State's primary system is pretty useless, all in all"

  • Tuesday, February 29, 2000 11:00am
  • News

“Washington’s Tuesday presidential primary produced an unusual sight for this state: Presidential candidates who are forced to travel here during the heat of their primary election battles to woo local voters.However, we have to question whether the attention” they brought here was worth the cost.It was supposed to be.According to the theory behind it, the state’s early-in-the-season primary is supposed to attract attention from major national candidates who need to gain a critical boost early in the nominating cycle. That, in turn, is supposed to translate into leverage for Washington state and its key issues at the national level.Unfortunately, few, if any, of the presidential candidates have noticeably tailored a position on any key issue – take your pick among international trade; dams and salmon preservation; urban transportation funding, etc. – to please Washington voters. Instead, they have used the state as merely the latest stage for their heated personal attacks and canned issue statements that have changed little since last week’s stop through – where was it now? – Michigan and Arizona.Oh, and lest we forget: Except for a small portion of the Republican delegates, no convention delegates were actually chosen in Tuesday night’s beauty contest. That nuts-and-bolts work will be done next week in an even sillier process, the statewide caucuses.Four years from now, we should either let the voters pick their delegates directly through the primary ballot – a move that would at least inject some air of reality into the voting. Or we should just save the money or, better yet, donate it to our state’s hard-strapped transit agencies to buy some more buses.Lord knows, that would probably give us more concrete gains than we’re likely to get from this crop of candidates, with this type of a system.”

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