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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.
HOME > View Blog  >  Opening Closed Primaries is Unconstitutional
Opening Closed Primaries is Unconstitutional
Posted by: Tanoro - May 4, 2016 1:03PM

Lately, there has been far too much bitching about how the primary elections are being held. I hear demands that closed primaries should be outlawed. I hear that super delegates are not democratic. I hear demands that political parties should be outlawed. I hear demands for a third party. When the DNC chairwoman recently declared that she would close all primaries, there was an explosion of misplaced outrage. The problem is this: political parties are private organizations, not government agencies! Given how grandiose the primary election season has become, it it easy to forget this. Political parties being private entities, we cannot pass laws to force political parties to open their primaries, change their internal procedures, or do anything that is not illegal for any private entity. Why? Because they are protected under the assembly clause of the First Amendment.

The First Amendment states, "the United States Constitution prohibits [...] abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble..." That means you have the right to organize political organizations, movements, protests, and political parties -- each one subject to its own internal operations in which members are internally involved in forming by their willful desire to participate. The government has no right to interfere with this process. I have heard no end of blustering over the course of the primary election season that primaries should be wide open and all voices heard. I disagree. The general election is the platform from which all voices are heard. It is no more unethical or illegal for a private organization to have closed voting than it is for a privately-owned restaurant to eject you and your AK-47 in spite of your incessant bitching about your Second Amendment rights. You have reached the limit of your rights and you have simply not recognized that.

In spite of what you may believe, the political parties are not part of the official process of electing the President (or any other office). A political party is a private organization of any number of voters who have selected to collaborate with each other, discuss the issues important to them, take a position on these issues, and enact whatever process they interally desire to select someone among them to register as a candidate in an election. It doesn't matter how huge and official the primary elections may seem. This does not mean only party candidates are available on the ballot. Quite the contrary. Anyone can register for candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission and run for president. The barrier from doing so is entirely within the media scope because that too is built around private organizations beyond government control who select to ignore independent and third party candidates out of rampant professional negligence.

"But I thought the primaries were paid for and regulated by the FEC!" No, the FEC is almost entirely uninvolved in the primaries. They are regulating the candidates' accounting, but they have no official role in regulating the parties. The primaries are mostly organized and paid for by the parties they serve and preferably in service to their members. This is why Hillary criticizes Bernie for not contributing money back to the DNC, thus funding the party's operational expenses. Giant chunks of the party's fundraising come from the officials who get elected. Much of their time in office is spent fundraising (aka whoring themselves to wealthy business interests) in order to keep their political party funded. Bernie refuses to play this money game, which is part of the reason DNC party leaders do not like him while the rest of us who are largely apathetic to this fundraising process adore Bernie simply for his ideas. Like it or not, the fundraising is currently a necessary component in fueling that machine. Corporate whores like Hillary serve this purpose, which is why she is the establishment candidate. Bernie is like a Nascar driver who publically rips the endorsement stickers from his car. He angers the corporate investors, causing his entire team to lose funding, which causes them to lose races when they cannot afford to maintain the cars. Given the current money-driven process, the establishment views this as self-defeating.

The political party is a middle man that is arguably no longer necessary in the Internet age. They eat too much time and resources simply existing when we all we need is to get the word of our candidates out during election season. They serve as single points of corruption isolated from government regulation. The means by which you destroy corrupted private organizations is by refraining from participation in them. We actually do have several more political parties here in the U.S. (i.e. The Green Party, The Justice Party, The Socialist Party, and dozens of smaller ones). These get zero media coverage largely because the media is directly involved in the two main parties. Worse than that, we dumb Americans have little capacity for nuance. We want our positions on political issues laid out in a menu of booleans as the two main parties are (i.e. for/against abortion, for/against gun control, for/against gay marriage, etc etc). The third parties tend to be both vertical and horizontal blends of these issues and Americans do not want to sort through all of that and determine where they actually stand -- especially if they are constantly told voting as they really want serves no purpose.

If you believe your voice is not being heard within the Republican or Democrat primaries, you are missing the point. Your voice was never meant to be heard in those places. The solution is to stop trying to game the political system and just vote for who you trust -- even if you know your choice won't win. There are no wasted votes! Stop participating in shill parties who must whore their elected officials to the wealthy in order to afford to exist. Stop settling for less than what you really want because some asshole told you that the lesser of two evils seems prudent. That only lowers the overall standards of what is an acceptable candidate. This is how we got into this unfortunate situation where we now have to choose between 1.) a fascist brain-sucking alien disguised as a bad hairpiece sitting atop a half-eaten slab of human jerky; and 2.) a lying plutocrat shill with no regard for information security as our next leader. Next time someone tells you not to waste your vote, tell them to piss off. Your role as an American voter is to select the best choice -- not the better one of two.

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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