The Primary System is Broken, Bill King. Chron.com
If anything emerged with crystal clarity from last week's primaries in Texas it is that the primary system is horribly broken and the greatest contributor to our national political gridlock.
King goes on to illustrate the ridiculousness of the system by complaining that Ted Cruz beat out Tom Leppert for the US. Sen run-off, he also chastises the system for putting former Rep. Paul Sadler into a run-off with Gary Yarborough.
What's clear to this writer is that King is not upset about the primary system, but instead that his favored candidates and those closest to his political viewpoint did not fare well. It's also clear that King is not planning on embracing the Tea Party movement at all when (if) he decided to throw his hat into the Houston Mayoral ring.
Look, I get not liking the Tea Party. While I sympathize with the rank and file members of the movement the leadership has been co-opted by attention-mongers like State Sen. Dan Patrick and Americans for Prosperity. While I'm more of a fan of Michael Quinn Sullivan than some, I do believe that he is spending too much time tearing down Republicans and not enough time focusing on winning general elections. His targeting of Rob Eissler was just odd. By all accounts Eissler was a thoughtful, reliably conservative representative who, by doing his job as education committee chair, drew the wrath of AFP.
I know what King was going for here, he's running to the middle faster than Bill Clinton during campaign season, trying to win some mythical group of cross-over Democrats. The problem with this logic is that those cross-overs aren't materializing any more.
I've stated before (on previous blogs) that, after they fell out of power, in Texas the Democrats purged themselves of most of their moderate members. What remained was a dedicated, albeit small, group of progressive true-believers. Unfortunately, for them, the result of this purge has been a slew of sub-par candidates with no shot at winning a State-wide race given the ideological make-up of the current Texas voting population. The Republicans are now doing the same thing that the Democrats did, but with a sizable voting bloc behind them. What they need to guard against is an overreach, making sure they don't take out the good with the bad.
In closing, I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with Republicans attacking our democratic system just because a handful of elections didn't turn toward their preferred candidates. It's one thing to bemoan a decision, it's another to question our governing system. It's still another thing to chastise the electorate for seeing things differently than you.
Whatever the case, scrapping democracy is not the answer. The answer is for the Republican party to bring forward strong candidates and let the people decide. The Democrats just need to get their butts in gear and return themselves to a viable 2nd option. Until then, the results could be weird.
I just can't help but wonder what replacement system Mr. King would advocate?