This is it, Missouri. Super Tuesday is February 5. That day we join 23 other states to cast our primary ballots or attend caucuses to decide who will be the nominees for our respective parties for the presidency.
If you are not registered to vote, or you have moved since you last voted, you have until January 9th to get registered to participate in the primary. You can register to vote at your county election board headquarters, or, in Kansas City, you can register at any branch of the Kansas City Public Library. In outlying areas, you should call your county elections board, or check the Secretary of State’s website for information on registering to vote.
This is the most important presidential election of our generation. The next president has a huge mess to clean up, and we must choose wisely. We start by choosing wisely in the primary.
In 2006, I remember opening up the Kansas City Star a few days before the midterm primary and seeing in the sidebar a sampling of “person on the street” interviews. When asked if they were going to vote in the primary, all but one of the people interviewed dismissed the primary as “unimportant.” They were all too busy, the primaries don’t matter, blah, blah, blah.
I read that, and had to be sedated.
The fact that four of five people couldn’t be bothered to vote in the primary set me off. I believe saying at the time that they all needed to be “bitch-slapped” or something along those lines. It’s fuzzy now, that’s about the time the tranquilizer dart kicked in. My husband is a smart man – he keeps a supply on hand during election season and presidential administrations headed up by Republicans named “Bush.”
Now, let me give a bit of background. I grew up in a family that preached the gospel of the electoral process, and intoned the mantra of the importance of the local election. Not very many people spent their tenth summer campaigning for Jerry Litton and Kit Bond (on alternate evenings) in 1972 – my yellow-dog Democrat Grandmother and belt-and-suspenders Republican Grandfather had a mixed marriage, and a passel of grandkids that got shipped to them them every summer, where we learned to put up hay early in the morning; and then learned the nuts and bolts of localized, retail politics in the evening.
I grew up in that politically charged environment, and it took. It took so well that I am a missionary for the cause, intent on spreading that word, until I am convinced that somebody besides me gets it!
That is why I was so ecstatic to see the turnout in Iowa on Thursday night. Maybe my Grandma’s message of “Primary Importance” is catching on? I’m going to go ahead and optimistically hope so, and try to make the case that the primary is the most important election, not the least, as those misguided souls interviewed by the Star seemed to believe.
Before anyone gets to face us in the general, they have to walk neighborhoods and attend rallies and ice-cream socials and box suppers and let their potential constituents get to know them, at least those of us who live in “important” states – meaning swing states like Missouri and states that vote on or before Super Tuesday, which pretty much decides the whole shooting match, especially now that New York and California have joined the Super Tuesday festivities.
If we are lucky, something like 20 percent of registered voters will come out to vote in the primary on February 5 to select our respective parties presidential candidates.
It makes me absolutely livid when a voter dismisses the primaries as “too minor” to waste his or her precious time on.
Five will get you ten, when the general heats up, at least half of those who were “too busy” to help select their parties candidate, will complain that the General election is a regular “Sophie’s Choice.” Then they will proceed to whine endlessly about how much they hate being “forced to select between the lesser of two evils…just to exercise his god-damned constitutionally guaranteed right to vote!”
On many occasions, I have asked such people, ever so sweetly (this is how I reel ’em in) “who did you vote for in the primary?”
This is almost always met with a blank stare.
Followed by a tap-dance about the General election being the important one.
Before we decide between us, we have to decide amongst ourselves who we want to bear our standard. At it’s best, at it’s finest, at it’s core, populist roots; this is the way politics is supposed to happen in a representative democracy.
The place to winnow out the reckless and the feckless is in the primary, not the General. And if you don’t participate in the primary, I would strongly advise that you not complain about your choices come November. Not in close proximity to me, anyway.