Miele’s Musing — WHY DO THE TAXPAYERS PAY FOR PRIMARIES?

BY PUBLISHER EMERITUS ARMAND MIELE

Political parties should pay for their own primaries in New York. Why should taxpayers be responsible? Primaries benefit no one but the politicians. It’s their problem, so let them pay for it.

The Republican and Democratic parties control our government. Each have their internal quarrels, and that’s fine. They don’t want non-members to have a say in resolving arguments between potential candidates. They want the party to resolve its issues fairly. So they have primaries to pick a candidate.

But why should the taxpayers pay for the party’s problems? The major political parties have plenty of money to pay for primaries. It’s just not right that they should take public money. If they had to pay for their own primaries, maybe there would be fewer primaries, and so what? The incumbents, who have the biggest source of private donations, would have less campaign time, and less of a chance to get re-elected.

I was once told by a Democrat getting signatures for her party’s primary that she was surprised to discover how many registered Democrats didn’t even know they were qualified to vote in the primary. I’m sure this holds true in the Republican Party also.

In many states, any registered voter has the right to vote in any primary, regardless of party affiliation. New York has it all wrong, limiting voters in a party’s primary to members only. This, also, is unfair to taxpayers, especially those registered to vote. It’s taxation without representation all over again, and even worse, it just serves to keep the incumbent in office.

I believe that those with power in the major parties are the ones in control of our government, not the president, the governor, the mayor, the county executive, or the supervisor. If an elected official does not do the bidding of the party leadership, they will start a primary against him or her. That makes the elected official’s first priority his own re-election. He or she can’t be for his constituents first. The elected official becomes a follower, not a leader.

Who put the New York law on primaries into place? The party leaders, influencing the elected officials. A primary is a fix. Neither party can lose. It’s the party that has the influence to raises loads of money, not the candidate. Look at what happened in Connecticut with U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman. Lieberman was a strict party-liner for 18 years. The one time he disagreed with the party leadership, they ran a primary against him. He lost. The party put all their money behind the other guy.

The New York law on political primaries must be changed in order to have an honest government. The current system only keeps politicians dishonest. No one has a chance to get into government unless he plays follow-the-leader, and that’s not democracy, in fact, it creates a kingdom for the ones in charge. They say we have the rule of law. Phooey! To stay in office, an elected official must listen to party leadership, no matter what they ask for, and that is bad.

If a good person has new ideas for how to help the populace, he or she has no chance of being elected in New York. A politician has to be either connected, or have party support. But no one gets those connections or that support without conforming to the party line. This is why, at times, a newly elected official with good intentions cannot deliver on campaign promises.

When the New York primaries come around, voting party members, remember who’s paying the unfair bill! Non-qualified voters, lie awake and weep. Put this on your tax bill and cry.