Political parties and public funds

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Political party leaders now explain that a primary is for party members and unaffiliated "political guests" to select each party's candidates for the general election. They suggest it is only fair that believers in a party platform should select their standard bearers. Thus, primaries just serve each party's private interests and should be closed.

Then how, after making such a case, can political parties justify having the state pay for primaries with public funds? It is "the public's business," they will say. Oh really? Since when does a distinct minority - like the Democratic and Republican parties combined - rule representing the majority in public business? The numbers of undeclared and non-partisan voters are the majority - and this is ignoring citizens not registered to vote! Major political parties apparently think they are too poor and disadvantaged and so warrant public welfare subsidies and virtual entitlements. Yet they all agree Alaska's budget problems are a priority! What is wrong with an average Alaskan (politically "unaffiliated" per demographics) exerting an ability in open primary to create for himself a decent choice of candidates for when he finally exercises his voting responsibility?

Furthermore, given this judicial ruling that primaries are proprietary to the political parties, how can the Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) initiative be presented in the Aug. 27 primary? This is the obvious business of all the people - not just people committed to individual party politics! Apparently, because of current state law on processing public initiatives, the primary was judged the nearest election for its presentation. Therefore, Aug. 27 is an election - for initiatives, but not for candidates for public office!

This has got to be one of the greatest scams in Alaska history. The special interests (political parties) with the most to lose are now legally able to decide the fate of something that threatens their power!

Since the IRV system is new and unfamiliar, years of hard won political skill at manipulating the system to serve selfish interests would become nearly worthless. In addition, my heart bleeds for all those poor "Big Boys" who would likely lose their state-funded monopoly on public attention.

Aug. 27 will mark the most graphic display of political hypocrisy anyone will see for years. Moreover, it shall be instigated by hypocrites guilty of - dare I say it - philosophical treason. Who can truly judge such immorality? Only the People can.

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay

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