Over the last several years there has been a lot of press over the issue of "disenfranchisement".
As a principled Independent I have been effectively disenfranchised by the new Louisiana primary system.
I think the Democrats might let me vote, I heard they were going to let Independents vote, but lately I've been hearing its a completely closed primary. Anyway since 49% of Democrats are African-American, Obama seems pre-destined to win. I'm not real excited about voting for Hillary anyway, and I'm not convinced of Obama either.
The Republican Party seems to be determined not to listen to voters, unless there is a landslide. But I can't really blame them for being scared since David Duke crashed their Party. In any event as a registered Independent, I'm not allowed to vote in their primary anyway.
Not that Louisiana matters all that much in the presidential race.
Louisiana's unique Open Primary system was established by Edwin Edwards. There have been several reasons given, but the main one seems to be the useless General Elections routinely held prior to the Open Primaries. Back in the day virtually all of the candidates were Democrats, often racist segregationist ones, often there was no challenger from any other party. It was common in those days to say that the Louisiana Republican Party could hold it's convention in a phone booth. Can't say that anymore and you couldn't hardly find a phone booth, to hold it in anyway.
Interest in changing the open primary system really came about when David Duke ran for Governor as a Republican. In a crowded field he came in second and the Republican Establishment couldn't effectively do anything to distance themselves from him. The second watershed event was when opportunist extroidinare, Cleo Fields captured the Democratic Party position in the Governors race.
Both parties eventually realized that demographics of the Open Primary system tended to favor the candidates on the ends of the spectrum or who had a sizable natural constituency. That effectively eliminated the middle. The center is often represented by several candidates who split a substantial majority of the votes. There was a sort of fratricide among the moderates. A lot of people on both sides worried that a Governors race could someday feature both Duke and Fields or their political successors.
Whether this new system will be better than the previous arguably more democratic system remains to be seen. I think it's a step backwards, but time will tell.
This prompted me to consider the whole quasi-Official Parties, The Democrats and The Republicans, who have conspired openly and for a long time to prevent the establishment of a viable Third Party. Even creating a myth that the Two Party System was somehow intended by the framers of our Constitution.
With the open primary system where party labels meant little, the open primary in Louisiana probably came closest to a true electoral democracy. Virtually anyone with a filing fee could get on the ballot.
The new closed primary system effectively subsidizes the Two Party System. The State keeps the party rolls. The State conducts the parties primaries, but allows the parties decide who is allowed to vote and even to ignore the results.
In states that have conventions or caucuses, the parties effectively limit participation but at least the taxpayers aren't billed for the expense of a full blown election.
Last week Rush Limbaugh was in full rant mode because "Independents and Moderates'" were allowed to vote in the Florida primary, simply by showing up at the polls and deciding to vote Republican. This was apparently a devious plot by "Independents and Moderates" to elect McCain. He claimed it was against Florida law. I don't know about that, but it shouldn't be. Some states allow "crossover voting. I think they all should. No one in the United States of America should be required to declare their political affiliation or be denied the right to vote.
The States should have no role in party politics. Parties, as far as they exist should be regulated in their activities and be publicly and completely transparent, but officially invisible.
I'm afraid we've taken a step back from true participatory democracy.