Here's how primary elections work, and how to vote

Although the point could be made that the "jungle primary’’ as operated by Washington and California, and the similar system in Louisiana, are similar to the two-round election system used in France.

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You obviously haven’t read either the Constitution or US history. The Constitution says nothing about party affiliation, and voting is open to everyone in order to avoid making it across party lines. And the men who wrote the Constitution and formed the first version of the US federal government almost universally excoriated and warned against forming a two-party system. Some of the Founders advocated that the Constitution should include a clause forbidding the formation of any political party. Those men had seen how partisan politics in England had caused problems both there and in the Americas, with issues being decided strictly on party lines and the impossibility of real bipartisan work. They had read the history of Rome and saw how the rise of factions there had made Roman politics an impossible morass. They hated and feared the very existence of political parties and railed against having them at all, because they foresaw parties causing the mess the US is in now. In the 2016 election we had Republicans who supported a stupid, incompetent, racist, corrupt, traitorous, fascist, pathological liar just because he’s in the same party, and Democrats who backed a lying, greedy, power-mad, vindictive, elitist, corporate whore harpy only because she had the “right” party name on her posters. DAMN anyone and everyone who thinks party loyalty is important. By putting loyalty to the party ahead of loyalty to the country they are doing a disservice to all mankind.

I can’t imagine how that would work out in practice. A political party is basically just a coalition of voters ostensibly working toward common goals. You couldn’t ban citizens from forming parties without seriously curtailing their ability to organize or advocate for political causes.

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The following is a modified version of a Facebook reply/Twitter feed that I will probably repost from time to time:
Because of all the drama involving candidates throwing their hats in for the 2020 Presidential Election, I’ll just grab an old reply I made a while back…If you want to become a political party delegate, listen and I’ll tell you how I did it in '16.
1) Get to know the county or precinct branch of the party you’re loyal to. Attend a few meetings and make a friend or two. Get your party card.
2) Watch the calendar for the party at the State level, on their websites. They’ll usually have the dates for when you can apply to be a delegate. Usually it will be a few weeks before the Presidential Primary or Caucus. Get the application form, fill it out, send it in. At this point, you’ll either have committed to a candidate or have decided to be an at-large. Either way, if you’re accepted, you’ll be on the list of delegates for your Congressional District.
3) The Primary gets held, and its outcome determines how many of each candidate’s delegates advance to the State Convention. I went to State, but the rules meant that there would only be two delegates of my gender/ethnicity/social class to go from there to the National Convention and I had to “fight it out” against five others with a stump speech. I fumbled, I lost. It turned out to be just as well, as it is very costly to go to the National Convention and I didn’t have a packed war chest fundswise.


Not to mention that some of those same founding fathers who advocated so strongly against political parties, such as Alexander Hamilton, almost immediately went on to lead their own parties when it became politically expedient. There’s just no getting around the fact that folks with similar policy goals are going to organize and coordinate with each other to have the best chance of achieving their agendas.


Vote in the primary for exactly who you want.
Vote in the general for the opponent of the worst candidate.
(but vote, dammit! none of this “meh my vote doesn’t count” @#$!)


Yes, obviously. You can vote for anyone who’s running, or can write in a candidate. But that’s about the election itself, which is a government thing, and entirely different from the party primaries. The constitution also says nothing about how private organizations like the Democratic Party or the Republican Party should choose the people they present as candidates for elected positions.

Unfortunately, they missed an important thing: if you don’t have political parties, you will have factions built around rich and powerful individuals. Which is much worse for democracy. In short, the US founders were naive about this.

Your description of Trump is pretty much on the point, but your description of Clinton sounds like you’ve swallowed and accepted every GOP attack and lie about her.


Don’t do it! Vote for the Green Party with a clean conscience :slight_smile:

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Unfortunately, in our first-past-the-post electoral system, you probably can’t vote for the Green Party candidate with a clean conscience.

Exceptions include if you live in a state which is so clearly red or blue that your vote truly doesn’t matter, or if you actually believe that whomever the Democrats put on the ballot is literally equally as bad as Trump [spoiler alert: that will not be the case]).

If you want to make a statement about which candidate you genuinely support, volunteer or donate to their campaign and vote for them in the primaries. But in the final election, it’s folly to think of your vote as an expression of genuine support for a candidate (and therefore refuse to vote for the Democrat). If you don’t like that, support ranked-choice voting.


I’ve searched the BB back-catalog, and have not been able to find the link you posted some (decade?) years ago… explaining very clearly how primaries in the US are all about vetting candidates for the benefit of the rich. I seem to remember them being called “melvin” for the purpose of the argument.

Of course, the way the media covers these things like sporting events doesnt help either. But this lack of community memory bothers me almost as much as russian intervention in the process.

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I support ranked-choice and am also a huge proponent of sortition and citizen assemblies. Luckily, I live in a chronically blue state…oh wait, no…it’s not luck…right, I chose to live here. Was gonna vote for Mayor Pete during the primary but am now leaning more towards Yang. Seeing as how neither one of them stand a snowball’s chance of getting the nom, I will then vote for whoever the Green Party candidate is come the election. With a clean conscience and a :slight_smile:

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Fair enough! But it’s dangerous if voters in swing states refuse to vote for the “lesser of two evils” because they view their vote as expressing support for that candidate. We have secret ballots! Nobody else needs to know who you voted for!

Of course, the fact that we talk about whether or not a politician has a ‘mandate’ based on the vote totals in the final election perpetuates this way of thinking.

I do wonder, moving forward in this new digital era, if public votes are the way to go when voting online? That way, it would be much harder for your vote to be tampered with. Some people might not feel comfortable doing so (for a number of different and legitimate reasons) but for those of us who have the courage of our convictions and are willing to stand by our votes in public…maybe they should count for more.

With public ballots you open the door to vote buying and all sorts of voter intimidation (for a start, I’d be concerned about employers knowing how their employees voted…)


Vote buying could definitely be an issue. As for your boss…it really depends on what kind of relationship you have with them. I know that my boss voted for Trump and she knows that I voted for Stein. I had been trying to talk her into voting for Johnson…how sad I was when she told me! But we still get along, and agree to disagree about certain topics. We’re both adults and we respect each other…and the world moves on.

“Don’t do it! Vote for the Green Party with a clean conscience :slight_smile:” … and an EMPTY F**KING Head.

This isn’t Amsterdam; this isn’t Germany or Canada. THIS IS NOT A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM or a RANKED-CHOICE SYSTEM, so when you cast a vote for the Greens you can skip the paperwork by, instead of putting your ballot in the ballot box, stuffing it up your foolish fundament directly.

I’d love it if America were a Euro-style progressive parliamentary Democracy. But we aren’t yet, and the next election is really about IF THERE WILL BE AN AMERICA. So your voting for the Greens to send a message is only going to send a message of four more years to the Martin-Sheen-in-the-Dead-Zone cosplayer in the Oval Office.

Related Problem: Dems aren’t doing enough fighting/making enough noise about voter suppression and Gerrymandering. JUST like fricking Obama, who was so concerned with looking calm he stayed chill while Republicans suppress voting everywhere and did nothing because he didn’t want to look ‘partisan.’ So they’re going to lose a fixed fight, but look noble doing so, which is, again, bullshit.

Related Problem: Iowa, New Hampshire and the fact that in 2016 EVERY STATE IN THE REFORMED CONFEDERACY voted in their primary before California, meaning that Iowa and New Hampshire, Mississippi and Georgia had more say in who got the momentum and the nomination than 30 million people. If we were serious, we’d have a five-week primary process – and each week, 10 states pulled from 10 buckets of large-to-small states (Tx, NY, Cal, Florida, Pennsylvania int he 'Big States" bucket, the Dakotas, Vermont, Alaska and Wyoming in the last, tiny-states one, e.g.) and pull the states three weeks before so Candidates have time to travel and plan.

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My state will, without any doubt, send Democratic senators and representatives to Congress, and Democratic electors to the Electoral College, no matter what I do.

You guys all understand that in the general election the popular vote DOES NOT MATTER, right?


If you’d rather have a fascist in office than vote for the one person on the ballot who actually stands a reasonable chance of defeating him then I’m not sure your clean conscience is actually warranted.


Trying to vote-shame me? LOL!! Girl, maybe save your outrage/resentment for those who don’t vote.

If the popular vote won the election, then you might have a point. But it doesn’t, so you don’t. If you live in a chronically blue or red state, then you are free to vote your conscience. If you don’t live in such a state, then yeah…maybe go for the person who isn’t Drumpf.

And in the future, instead of trying to vote-shame someone…maybe consider saving that energy for those who don’t vote.

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