Vetting the Voting
Consider that tonight we start the process of determining the next leader of the free world. Sort of a big deal, right? So why then is all of the focus on one state? Why aren’t all Americans going out to vote at once? Instead, for months, every candidate with a pulse (and Bernie Sanders too) has been visiting every church, café, coffee shop, co-op, and chicken coop in the state to campaign, pander, and grovel for votes. Nothing against the fine people of Iowa, but why are they given preferential treatment? Why do candidates spend more time in the Hawkeye State and with its 3.1 million people than with the populations of Texas, Florida, and half the South combined? Residents in those states get a drive-by or whistle-stop wave, whereas every single person in Iowa has met each candidate a dozen times and had them over for coffee or Sunday brunch.
After Iowa, everyone flocks to New Hampshire (as opposed to say, Rhode Island or Connecticut). This one-state-at-a-time procedure continues for a month until thirteen states cast ballots on Super Tuesday (March 1). A few more vote later that week, another five the week after. And so on and so forth. Seriously? The method of voting isn’t even standard. Some states vote in primaries. In Iowa, they “caucus.” South Carolina has different days set aside for the Republican and Democrat tickets. In Nevada, they tabulate the votes and award candidates a corresponding number of ping-pong balls for a lotto-style “election” held on the Las Vegas Strip at midnight. (Okay, I made that one up, but you never know.)
Is it any wonder only one-third of the population votes in general elections? I mean, we’re one step above drunk guys in a bar throwing darts at candidates’ faces or a blindfolded chimp picking between painted bananas. How did this system ever get created? Was another country already employing the eeny-meeny-miny-mo method? Did putting all the candidates’ names on a wheel and giving it a big spin seem too arbitrary? Granted, we’re a far sight better than a place like North Korea—where Supreme Leader Kim Jung-Dingbat gets unanimously re-elected by 10 billion North Koreans each year—but this is ridiculous.
Please, there has to be a bored ninth-term congressman out there with nothing to do but start drafting a 28th Amendment to the Constitution that would make this entire process, oh, I don’t know, sane! I’ve even come up with a hashtag to get it off the ground: #SameWaySameDay. And of course, to be fair, Iowa’s representatives will get to vote on it—two months after all the other states.
In the meantime, if there’s any folks from Iowa or New Hampshire reading this, shoot me a message. I’d like to give you my two cents’ worth so that I can have some small say in this whole deal. As it is, I don’t get to vote until April 5, by which time a majority of states will have voted and the next President of the United States may have already been nominated. I don’t know what other recourse I have, except maybe to appear out of a cornfield with a campaign sign and hope they don’t check my ID. But somehow, that doesn’t quite seem fair.