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Primary elections are far more important than general elections, but most citizens don’t really wake up politically until a week before it’s time to go to the polls in November. Then, they look at their choice and complain that there are no good candidates. They choose between what they consider to be the lesser evil, or worse still, simply check the box beside “incumbent,” whoever he or she is, and complain about how things never change.
This year, things are similar, but different: similar in that the primary turnout is low, but the difference is in the intensity of those who are going to the polls. That is a result of the tea-party movement, a group of independent-minded citizens who are determined to take back their government from career politicians, whom they consider have put this country on a path to economic collapse.
These voters are beholden to no one and no political party. They are unusually well-informed. They don’t need a scorecard from a political action committee or a list of preferred candidates from the local union boss. They are capable of weighing the issues and the candidates on their own, thank you very much!
As a result, when the majority of our citizens wake up from their political slumber in late October, they will be surprised to see they have some real choices this year. No more Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
In the old days, an incumbent could coast through the primary season. Not anymore!
Much to the chagrin of the political bosses, the old play book isn’t working. Three big-name incumbents have already been sent packing in the primaries. (There surely will be more.) Several others retired early rather than face a primary challenge. They saw the handwriting on the wall, and they didn’t like what they saw.
Many of the candidates who have advanced in the primaries are more polarizing to be sure. They have gone way out there on a left or a right limb instead of clinging to the trunk in the mushy middle.
As a result, in many races, there will be a clear choice between the nanny state and self reliance, between bigger government or lower taxes, between insolvency and fiscal restraint, between law and order and chaos.
It may be a long time before the average voter is capable of making an independent choice, but for many, it may be the first time a clear choice is available.
In a perfect world, voters would pay more attention to a candidate’s resume than his or her physical appearance.
In a perfect world, voters would never give a candidate who has not run a successful business a chance to run their towns, states or country.
In a perfect world, voters would care more about a candidate’s stand on the issues than his or her ability to deliver a stump speech or read a teleprompter.
In a perfect world, voters would examine the individual, not his or her political pedigree.
In a perfect world, voters would never consider a candidate who has cheated on a spouse, knowing full well that if he or she cheats on a marriage partner, that candidate likely will cheat on voters as well.
Likewise, in a perfect world, voters would reject anyone who has cheated on his or her taxes or anyone who appoints such a person to a position of authority.
In a perfect world, voters would care more about practical experience than name recognition.
In a perfect world, voters would value hard work in the private sector over political experience.
In a perfect world, voters would take principles over promises.
In a perfect world, voters examine the “Big Pig Book” put out annually by Citizens Against Government Waste and would reject pork-barrel projects and the politicians who deliver them.
In a perfect world, voters would check the spending records of every incumbent with the National Taxpayer’s Union Foundation and would fire all the people who are adding to the national debt and running up bills their children and grandchildren will never be able to pay.
In a perfect world, voters would never be afraid to turn in a ballot without voting for every office. If they were unfamiliar with the candidates for any office, they would leave those spaces blank instead of casting an uninformed vote.
In a perfect world, these voters would not feel guilty for leaving a few offices blank. Instead, they would give themselves a pat on the back for every intelligent vote they were able to cast.
In a perfect world, we would have a government that works for, not against, us.