Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dear Remaining Primary States: Please Let Our Votes Count. Love, Kentucky

At the risk of tempting fate, I have to finally articulate the hope I've been harboring since Iowa:

It's possible that 2008 will see the first time since 1988 that primary votes cast in Kentucky will actually count in determining the Democratic nominee.

Kentucky's presidential primary is May 20, the same third Tuesday in May on which every Kentucky primary election is held. Oregon also votes on May 20, then Puerto Rico in June, and that's it.

But for Puerto Rico and the Pacific Time Zone, Kentucky primary voters are dead last in the nation.

We haven't seen a presidential candidate during an actual election year since Lexington homeboy Henry Clay ran in 1852.

In 1988, a wild hair got into the ass of somebody who moved our primary to Super Tuesday. About 14 people - obviously confused by the winter weather - actually voted, so the presidential primary was quietly moved back to almost Memorial Day.

I remember fighting back tears in May 2004 as I cast my defiant but meaningless vote for Howard Dean. If only we'd had a February primary, Howard, we could have saved you!

But now Super Tuesday, instead of crowning the usual hopeless establishment loser, has given us the priceless gift of an actual tie between two strong candidates. And the very real prospect of staying a tie right through Memorial Day.

As Josh Marshall noted after the results were in:

But I think all these competing scenarios make one point clear. The only arguments for one side or the other being a winner here come down to airy and finally meaningless arguments about expectations. And the result tells a different tale. It's about delegates. It's dead even. You've got two well-funded candidates who've demonstrated an ability to power back from defeats. And neither is going anywhere.

The flip side of the proportional representation in delegates is that not only does it allow a challenger like Obama not to get put away early, it also makes it difficult to put away an opponent late. The conventional wisdom is that Obama will do well in this weekend's and next Tuesday's contests. But if he does, proportionality will reign there too. It's hard to see where this doesn't go all the way to the convention.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, party split, help the repugs, wasted money, blah, blah, blah.

I don't care. Just this once, I want my presidential primary vote to count. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Virgina? Ohio? Texas? Pennsylvania? What do you say?

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.