Today it really starts. The Iowa caucuses are tonight, and by the end of the night of February 5, 2008, we’ll almost certainly know who the two next presidential candidates from the major parties will be.
In the next 34 days, a field of 15 candidates, seven Republicans and eight Democrats, will be winnowed down to two. Democratic candidates will campaign across 25 states (excluding Michigan and Florida) and the Republicans across 30 states, a process that requires resources that most of them just don’t have.
In the next 34 days, candidates without a major war chest will find that they cannot compete in even a small number of the states required to win 50% or more of the delegates, and they’ll be forced to withdraw. This will again illustrate, in pointed manner, both the corrosive influence of money on our national political process and the utter failure of the public election financing system.
Over the next 34 days, the national party that supposedly stands for voting rights, the Democratic Party, will intentionally and willfully disenfranchise the states of Michigan and Florida because they refused to abide by party rules. At the same time, the Republican Party, the national party that supposedly stands on disenfranchisement for criminals and has a history of working against voter turnout, has refused to be so brazenly anti-American.
In the next 34 days, Democratic voters at primaries and caucuses will elect 55.6% of their total delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Similarly, Republican primary and caucus voters will elect 58.5% of their delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. And in the process, over 44.4% of all Democratic voters and 41.5% of all Republican voters, representing 25 and 20 states respectively, will be disenfranchised. Put another way, the two major parties will knowingly participate in a process that renders meaningless the votes of approximately 32 million Democratic voters and about 23 million Republican voters, about 27.3% of the entire voting population of the United States.
And in the next 34 days, Congress will pass no bills to correct this. The President will not direct the FBI to investigate voting irregularities. The Supreme Court will not order the President to permit 55 million disenfranchised voters the right to vote for their candidate of choice and to have their vote matter. And neither will the various state Governors and legislatures.
In the next 34 days (maybe it will stretch to 39 days), we’ll learn who the Democratic and Republican party candidates for President of the United States are. We’ll also learn, yet again, that we have earned the government we have, and that we deserve it.
God(s) help us.