Thursday, May 7, 2009

Playoffs instead of Primaries??

So I was driving around in my car today and I was just doing some thinking. Right now the talk of the town (at least on radio) is the NBA and NHL playoffs. I'm a big fan of these playoffs matchups (much more than the regular seasons in these sports). I think I'd like college football a lot more if they had a playoff system - its just too hard to concentrate on that many bowl games over a 2 week period.

Anyway, I was switching back and forth between talk about the NHL playoffs and how the Caps are doing (Go Caps!!) and talk about elections in India on NPR. The talk about elections in India reminded me of a conversation I had last week where somebody pointed out the problems associated with a multi-party system - basically that while a majority is still needed in congress, no single party has a majority so its a lot harder for bills to pass. I'm not sure if the elections act in a similar way (I'd think not because they were talking about "round 4 of elections in India"), but this got me to thinking how would the primaries work if we had them set up as like a playoffs type system?

If you think of it right now, its kinda like a playoff system where the Democrats are the NFC and the Republicans are the AFC. The primaries are like the conference championship games and the November elections are like the Super Bowl (I'm going to stick to the football analogy since thats my favorite sport). But how would this system look under a different structure? What other structures are possible?

One thing about the primary system that I don't really care for is that it seems to eliminate third parties and third party candidates. So what if instead of the two round system we have now, we added more "rounds" of primaries where candidates go against some of these lesser known parties or maybe lesser funded candidates? Maybe this would be similar to the "wild card" round of the playoffs. One immediate question that I think of is, "how do we choose which candidates to go against one another"? Or who gets to vote in which primary?

Supposing that we did something like this, and it eliminated political parties all together, then we could adopt something similar to the NCAA tournament where the candidates are all put into some magical box which decides who to put into each primary. Then people would be able to register for the primary of their favorite candidate and go cast their votes.

Another thing about this is should the candidates go in head to head battles (similar to the November elections) or in one vs the rest battles (similar to the primaries as they currently are)? I'm not really a fan of the one vs all battles because again, I think they tend to favor the major political parties. But if instead, we were to engage in a series of head to head matchups, there's more of a chance that a third party candidate could emerge - either out of the public outrage against one of the major candidate, or just because that third party candidate actually represents the public interests better.

I don't know. This is just some stuff that was on my mind as I was driving and switching back and forth through some talk radio.

1 comment:

D the God Awful said...

My father said something once about America not being able to function without a party system, because basically that's America's 'skeleton'. I don't remember the exact quote, but I do remember him being very diligent in his argument. I hate to think that's true, but I actually thought Nader had the right attitude back in 2000, but I would have never had the courage to vote for him.

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