The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
We’re less than a month away from Missouri’s Presidential Preference Primary, when we’ll have a chance to choose from 17 candidates representing three political parties. Unfortunately, we won’t have much opportunity to state our opinions publicly, since the so-called campaign finance reform act makes it a crime for us to buy an ad supporting or opposing a federal candidate by name. You don’t think the local press is going to fill up their valuable space with your letters, do you?
Since we don’t have to register by party in Missouri, each voter can decide which party ballot to pick up in any particular election. People without any party affiliation or identification (“independents”) can still vote. Many of us select a ballot based on other grounds than what party we support. Here’s some advice to help make such a decision.
Democrats have a nice, competitive race with a wide choice of 11 candidates, so they’ll likely need only to decide which candidate best mirrors their views. The only flaw here is for conservative Democrats, who don’t appear to have an option whose views are similar to our 4th District Congressman.
Republicans do have some options. They can show support for their incumbent, or take a Democratic ballot and vote for the candidate they think would be easiest to beat in November. If they’re really upset with the free-spending folks in Washington, they can vote for one of the two unknowns on the Republican ballot or pull a Libertarian ballot and pick someone at random.
Libertarians have an interesting dilemma. They officially don’t believe that the state should pay to help a political party pick its candidates, so several top candidates aren’t on our ballot. The delegates to their convention will likely vote for whomever they wish, whatever the results of this primary.
A couple of other points – the poll watchers have the right to record what ballot you take. If you don’t like any of the options, you can always vote “uncommitted” and turn the decision over to the party regulars. There’s no reason to be uninformed, since you can find information about most of the candidates on the internet. Whatever your party, go ahead and vote. It’s fun!
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