Opinion

Editor's Column: Our democratic process explained

Q: I’m very excited about Washington’s upcoming presidential primary election. If things work out, our votes could mean a lot in the big picture. How, exactly, does it work?

A: It’s simple. You can vote Republican or vote Democrat, just sign your ballot accordingly for the whole world to see.

Q: But I’m kind of independent-minded. And I don’t want anyone knowing if I’m a Republican or a Democrat.

A: Fine, then don’t vote. It’s your right as an American.

Q: We used to be able to vote for whomever we wanted.

A: That’s before Washington’s influx of outsiders, who whined to the courts and eventually made us do it their way.

Q: They destroyed our traditional culture.

A: Tell it to the Indians.

Q: But if I don’t vote I’ll have no say in who becomes the next prime target for news talk radio.

A: Sure you can, just go to a caucus.

Q: I thought Washington had a primary.

A: It does, but the Democrats ignore the results and the Republicans pick only half their delegates from the primary. Add it all up, and three-fourths of all delegates are picked at the caucuses.

Q: How did this split come about?

A: Some people like to caucus, and others don’t, so they compromised.

Q: Who inspired the pro-caucus crowd?

A: Michael Dukakis.

Q: Who inspired the anti-caucus crowd?

A: Michael Dontkakis.

Q: What’s it like going to a caucus?

A: You get to meet your local party leaders. This compels most people to leave immediately so they can get home in time to watch American Idol.

Q: But if you stay, how does it work?

A: You listen to spiels for each candidate, then write down your preference. The votes are added up and you have a winner.

Q: That sounds simple.

A: No, it’s not. What actually happens is delegates are elected to the county convention, and from there some of them go to the state convention, and from there to the national convention.

Q: Sounds like important stuff.

A: No, it’s not, because nationwide the delegates to the convention are largely picked through primary elections. National convention delegates are mainly known for drinking too much, waving signs and demonstrating on cue when their candidate speaks. The winner is already decided.

Q: Well, it sounds like for me to have the most influence, I’ll just suck it up and vote with the Republicans. They pick the most delegates through the primary election, right?

A: Right, but remember, this is Washington state where the majority always votes for the Democrat, who gets 100 percent of our electors. So your vote amounts to less than an expectoration into the ocean.

Q: What’s an elector?

A: They vote in the Electoral College, which really picks the next President of the United States.

Q: Gee, I’m starting to wonder just how democratic our process really is.

A: It’s quite democratic, as long as you stick to voting for the next American Idol.

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