I have been watching the GOP presidential primaries and caucuses with interest. I am not a registered Republican. I do find the primary/caucus/nomination process amazing, though. I am particularly interested in this year’s GOP as there is an incumbent president of the opposing party who is running for reelection.
I realize that as a country we encourage anyone to run for elected office. Each state has its own threshold for getting a name on the ballot for the primary or caucus that is held in that state. While some of these hoops that need to be jumped through are high, most are reachable with a small organization.
What amazes me – particularly with the GOP the last two election cycles – is the massive number of initial candidates! Is it really necessary to have 8 to 12 choices? Can there possibly be that many varying views within the party. On top of that, can it possibly be good for the general election to have your candidates dragged through the mud by their own peers prior to that time?
I realize this process is not solely the property of the GOP. This particular election cycle, though, it is and it seems worse than in previous years. While there are not 12 GOP members trying to run the gamut of primaries and caucuses, the negativity started with Iowa – which started earlier than previous years due to wanting to be first. To the only slightly trained political eye that is mine, it seemed that the GOP had decided who was going to win the primaries and caucuses to become the party’s nominee before the actual voting began. Due to this unspoken nominee, the negativity came out first thing. Rather than waiting and letting the opposing party vet the negativity on the nominee, the other, non-ordained GOP candidates seem to be doing the Democrats’ jobs of picking apart each of the possibilities, including those who have little chance of being the party’s nominee.
Does the primary/caucus process seem more negative this year, already? Do you even pay attention prior to the general election cycle?