Letter: Bystander State

Letter to the Editor

We all vote in California, but, for all practical purposes, our vote is virtually meaningless. By the time the primary elections roll around here, the parties already have named their candidates. 

Even American Samoa votes before we do. The way California — the most populated state in the country by far — is relegated to this impotent status is beyond comprehension.

For months, we listen to the endless coverage of a few thousand voters in Iowa who decide the first contest. They are followed by a few thousand people in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, whose voices, again, have undue influence. Even so-called Super Tuesday does not include six of the seven most populated states in the union. Why not?

We in California should demand that our legislators and party officials move up the primary date so that our voices will also count in choosing presidential candidates. Forfeiting this role to other parts of the country makes no sense. How different would the results be in the Republican contest if the West Coast and Mid-Atlantic states were heard? We will never know.

The fact is that, for the most part, the early participating states tend to be more conservative with a greater concentration of evangelical voters. California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania tend to be more moderate, but all of them basically sit out of the election while others decide for them. The whole process makes little sense.

Another undemocratic element also exists in these primary elections. More than one quarter of all delegates chosen in the Democrat primary are called “super delegates,” although here is nothing super about them. They simply represent the party big wigs. If you think that Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary by over 22 percent, think again. Sanders walked away with virtually the same number of delegates that Hillary Clinton did. So much for democracy.

If California wants to be more than a bystander, we must move up our primary date, eliminate super delegates and let freedom ring.

Burt Ross