Saturday, August 28, 2010

Party Primaries

Today’s election is a historic one. It includes the first Libertarian primary ever held in Louisiana and the first third party primary held in this state in about a century. Today’s statewide races are the first party primaries that Louisiana has held for a U.S. Senate election in over three decades. Unfortunately, these will also be the last Congressional party primaries that the state will hold for the foreseeable future.

Earlier this year the Louisiana Legislature voted to return us to the jungle primary system which Edwin Edwards instituted in the 1970’s. When that law takes effect next year, Louisiana's election laws will again be out-of-step with almost all of the rest of the country.

The jungle primary (or blanket primary) encourages a highly personalistic political culture and causes any coherent discussion of ideas and issues to fade into the background of the political circus. In short, the jungle primary brings about the kind of political culture that has held this state back for decades.

It is inevitable that party primaries will return to Louisiana someday. They are a part of a mature democracy. Let’s hope our leaders don’t give up on the voters so easily next time.

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