Opinion

'Super Tuesday' has two meanings

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You would never know it by my columns, but there will be one

other decision to make on the ballot Feb.

29.. There is that little matter of the

presidential primary.

I tend to think of Presidential elections as a democratic process.

Primaries are anything but. Primaries are for political parties to chose who they

are going to run for the election. Washington voters traditionally have

abhorred having to be beholden to any particular party. We pride ourselves

on being independent even if we vote a straight party line and donate cash

to every candidate that a party puts on the ballot all the way down to

dogcatcher.

In most states you must register with a political party in order to

vote in their primary. We in Washington get to have our cake and eat it too. We

have a choice of three different ballots: Unaffiliated, which lists all

candidates. Then there is a ballot for Democrats and a separate ballot for

Republicans. Unfortunately you only get to vote

for one candidate no matter which ballot you choose. The parties only have

to consider the votes on the party ballots. They have the right to ignore the

unaffiliated votes.

Of course the unrelenting strangle hold of the two major parties

ensures that no independent party candidates actually show up on a primary

ballot. In order for an independent party to participate, they must have

elected someone to a major office and have received at least 5 percent of the

total vote cast at the last state general election in an even-numbered year.

What any of that has to do with a desire to run for office I cannot even

imagine. It is a Catch-22; you have to elect someone to office in order to get

on the ballot to elect them to office.

Nothing like writing a state law that guarantees that anyone

seeking nomination must be beholden to the existing party machines. Gee, I

wonder if the Democrats and Republicans are footing the bill as we are

paying tax dollars to run their exclusive primaries? I guess this election is a

reaction to the old system where only rabid party members voted on the

nominees.

I hope that at least on the actual presidential election ballot in

November we get to see the oddball candidates. I like them the best because

you get to see all the really wacky candidates who are only on the ballot

because they lost a bar bet. You also get to see some truly visionary

nominees who don't believe in being kept by the Democrat or Republican parties.

It is nice that we are actually get a chance to vote in the primary.

Usually the nominees are decided long before we in the "real" Washington get a

say. You can be pretty sure that there will be at least two contenders for

each major party for once. This is because of "Super Tuesday."

March 7 is called "Super Tuesday" because it is my fortieth birthday

and also because a couple of little states like California and Texas hold

their primaries. It would be a big surprise if any of the major candidates drop

out before then.

I do not think we will be getting our own debate. Not enough

electoral votes for us to matter that much. We will get an onslaught of political

ads. I have already seen the really icky "bring respect back to the

Presidency" advertisements. Very "mom and

apple pie." Really though, after Bill and Monica, we can only improve

the presidential image. Even if we elected Regis "is that your final

answer" Philbin, the office would have more dignity. At least he is monogamous.

Sordid behavior starts in the nominating process.

The closer the election, the seedier the advertising. We

are starting to get what I call the "puppy kicker" advertising. They are the

ads about how candidate number one kicks puppies for fun. This will

soon be followed by candidate number two's response that the first guy

kicked more puppies and wet his bed as a kid. Isn't politics a noble profession?

I do hope that everyone votes in this election. Even if you don't

particularly like any of the candidates. It is a sad fact that the majority of

people don't vote at all. Many never got around to registering, many feel

uninformed and many are just disillusioned with the whole process. I

prefer to bury my doubts about my depth of knowledge and my deep-seated

distrust of all things associated with a major political party. Better to have

a voice because if I don't use it, I don't have to worry about someone

taking the right away. I have already lost it.

Kate Russell lives between Carnation and Duvall. You

can reach her via E-mail at katemo1@msn.com.

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