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If you want to know why our electoral process is messed up, look no further than Missouri.The death of this state’s primary is the result of a confusing and counterproductive nominating system, and the voters of the state are suffering the consequences.
Tomorrow the state will hold a primary that costs taxpayers more than $6 million, according to KMBC. But get this: that primary will have no influence over which delegates are sent to the GOP nominating convention in August.
Here’s what happened: in 2010, the Republican National Committee made a rule stating that only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada could hold nominating contests before March. States who defy the rule would lose half the delegates that they can send to the national convention. The goal was to extend the nomination process by making sure one candidate couldn’t get too many victories too early.
Thing is, no state really wanted to push back their primaries, because they knew just as well as the RNC does that the earlier states always have more influence on the direction of the race.
So several states ignored the RNC rules and accepted the loss of delegates.
But it wasn’t so simple in Missouri.
The state had already set the primary for February 7, so the Missouri legislature had to pass a law in order to change it to a date in March. They tried. But Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon vetoed several bills because they had some bad provisions attached.
So the primary has remained scheduled for February 7. But since there’s no rule stating that the results must be used to assign delegates, the Joblin Globe reports, the primary is now non-binding. It will be, in short, a “beauty contest” election — lots of pomp but no real substance.
Instead, the delegates will be determined in state caucuses on March 17.
“In the 10 years I’ve been here, this is the dumbest thing I’ve seen the legislature do,” said Mo. state Sen. Kevin Engler, KMBC reports.
So Missourians aren’t too happy about this. And who can blame them? They’re spending a lot of money for a contest that is effectively a straw poll. And we all know how effective a straw poll is in picking a presidential candidate.
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