With campaigns in full swing and primary elections fast approaching, I as an American taxpayer again voice my complaint. I most certainly understand and accept the taxpayer burden of paying the cost of general elections, but why should taxpayers foot the bill for a political party's primaries?
Think about it, we the taxpayers pay the costs of primary elections which only serve to help political parties choose the candidates they put forward in the general elections. I bet I know whose idea that was!
I ask why because political parties are nowhere endorsed in the U.S. Constitution. In fact, some of our founding fathers warned against them.
So why is it that the taxpayers got stuck with the responsibility and the bill of conducting primaries? In themselves, primaries elect no one to public office; that is done in the general election, even if a candidate who wins a primary is later elected in a big group along with all the others who run unopposed in a general election -- and no, I don't like that manner of conducting general elections either and think all candidates should be listed on the ballot with a place to write in an opponent when no one else runs.
Our country's political parties managed to put forward candidates for office without primary elections for well more than a century. If a party wishes to have a primary election, let the political party pay for it rather than the taxpayers!
Quite a few years ago, while I still lived in northwestern Kansas, I chose to unaffiliate myself with the party I had at one time supported because of the party's waffling on its moral platform. When I tried to affiliate with a third party, the state would not acknowledge that affiliation but counted me as simply "unaffiliated." That, however, did not relieve me of the tax burden of paying for primary elections to help the two major political parties select their candidates at their respective conventions even though I couldn't vote in the party primaries.
In Arkansas, with open primaries, I can choose to vote in a party's primary -- either to select the lesser of evils or to sabotage an opposing party by voting for a candidate I expect could never win in the general election -- but even if my party has no candidates on the primary ballot and I choose not to vote in another party's primary, I still have to pay taxes to pay for the primaries.
I lived in Iowa once -- only for two years -- and it did one thing that makes more sense to me than the states of Kansas and Arkansas. The state didn't pay for primary elections. Instead of taxpayer-funded primaries, political parties held caucuses to help choose their respective candidates. I realize that many don't like caucuses because it takes a whole evening rather than a few minutes to cast a vote, but at least I didn't have to pay to help a political party I don't support choose its candidate and I could give my support to the party of my choice, even if it wasn't one of the big two that got us into this mess.
Am I supporting caucuses? Not necessarily. But I am complaining about our government spending taxpayer dollars to aid political parties in choosing their candidates.
If parties wish to put forward candidates, let the parties foot the bill to choose their candidates.
Randy Moll is the managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer. He may be reached by email at email@example.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 02/12/2020
Print Headline: Why do taxpayers have to foot the bill for primaries?