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Primary observations.

May 6, 2016

Throughout this primary season, this blog has tried to showcase  the opinions of real people, self-described as independents, with the promise that when the primary season ended, they would be revisited.

For all intents and purposes we’ve reached that point, so what do they think happens now?

Sixteen people that stuck around pretty faithfully through all the debates, Republican and Democrat,  until after the Indiana primary met online to share their opinions on the candidates and the process.

These people reside in four different states (OR, ID, CO, NV), giving them varied perspectives of the process.

Of the group two were Trump supporters from the get-go.  Two supported Cruz, four voted for Marco Rubio, one was for Bush but became a Kasich convert,  two initially supported Rand Paul but changed to Cruz, two supported Carly Fiorina, and two were always and remain undecided.

Of the sixteen, seven are OK but not ecstatic with Trump as the nominee, and two remain staunch Trump supporters.

Of the remaining seven, five stated that as of now they are undecided about voting,  but could be swayed depending on how Mr. Trump conducts himself between now and November, and who he picks as a running mate.

Two said without reservation that they absolutely will not vote, as none of the candidates reflect their positions.

None said they were considering a Democrat, although three had previously said they would support anyone regardless of party if they felt that person would be the best president.

Speaking of the Democrats, everyone agreed that while there is no doubt Hillary will be the nominee, they felt that Bernie Sanders has exposed the far left of the Democratic party to the world. They are surprised and disturbed about how many people are willing to embrace a totalitarian government.

Take-aways

All agreed that the time has come for congressional term limits. They feel that the era of the lifetime professional politician has created a ruling, rather than a governing class.

All also agreed that state governments need to step in and pass laws allowing every citizen to cast a direct vote for a candidate at the primary level.

Fourteen out of the sixteen believe the country needs to reduce the impact of the radical elements in each party. Their solution of choice was to create something they define as a centrist party. Two were undecided as to format, but agreed that radicals in both parties have far too much influence on outcomes and would like to see them have to run under their true colors.

Thirteen would like to see campaign finance reforms and limits on spending. All feel that money has had far too great an influence on the 2014 and now the 2016 elections, and worry that the potential for criminal enterprises to fund elections is becoming greater.

All find it ironic that Democrats want to vote to confiscate the wealth of the top 1 or 10% when they are part of that class.

Personal reflections

Asked if they thought Trump would win all the marbles most had reservations, but for different reasons.

Four think he will win. Seven thought that the GOP would be more instrumental in his defeat than the Democrats, assuming he loses. The other five feel that he has to overcome the organizational and funding lead of the Clinton machine.

Asked about the future of the Republican Party as it is presently constituted, no one thought the GOP would survive fully intact.

Asked what they thought would happen to the GOP, every one of them said they feel there will be a new third party movement, probably some sort of ultra-conservative constitutional party, a sort of Tea Party on steroids.

As to what was their most useful experience about the primary season, everyone agreed that they know a lot more about how elections work now, and they are concerned about what they have learned.

All are kind of sorry that the GOP convention won’t be contested, just because they would have liked to see how that part of the system works. On the other hand, they feel that having a clear nominee is better for the country as a whole.

All of them believe that the system itself is, as Trump says, rigged in favor of the politicians. They hope that after the election people will still work to make it more fair to the people, possibly eliminating the delegate system altogether.

They would also like to see an end to being forced to sign up as Republicans or Democrats  in order to vote, since neither party fully represents their views.

Most feel that all the candidates should be presented to all the voters at one time in fully open primaries. They are not enamored with the delegate system (particularly those who live in Colorado) and closed primaries.

They believe if delegates are used, they should always be awarded proportionately.

Most troubling for all was that so many people seem willing to give up their freedoms  in exchange for being bottle-fed for life by the government.

All agreed that Trump is a centrist, and feel that the so-called conservative wing of the party is fully committed to defeating him, perhaps even more so than the Democrats.

This is the end of the line for the primary watchers. Some of them vowed to remain engaged to the finish, while others said it was fun, but not something they’d do again unless the system undergoes substantive changes.

Tally ho, pip-pip, and all that jolly rot. It’s off to the general election season.

From → op-ed

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