Blog: Why vote in the primary?

Steve Jackson

Elephant in the Room
with Steve Jackson

Everyone has seen the union votes line up time after time. Republicans rarely seem to find enough votes, unless there are very bad times or very good candidates. Right now, they seem to have both. Republicans aren’t feeling that their votes won’t matter, the Christian Right and the Economic Right will come out en masse because of the massive opportunity in this election.

Many independents are being swayed because the Democratic party is being seen as a purveyor of bad government. The efficiency and economy arguments on the right are starting to make way because we’ve had a Democrat dominated government on the local and national levels, regardless of independent’s social beliefs. 

It’s hard to argue against a bad economy, especially if it doesn’t seem to be getting any better ... Stagnation is never an option—not in war, not in the economy. Those two issues kill parties. They kill leadership. Accepting those tendencies in government and public opinion gives us the ability to look at the situation realistically. 

For Republicans in Hawaii, I think the plan is a simple one: Bring out the base and sway enough independents to come to the party for this election, creating momentum for the next and providing an opportunity to govern, to show what they’re made of. 

For Democrats, they gauge through the primaries just how important the problems are. They find out which ideology will succeed in their party and begin crafting their run to November. The Democratic Party seems to tell more the actual tendencies in Hawaii because of the governor’s race, unless we have a large voter turnout with more Republican primary voters. 

The primary is very important to both sides because they see who will be coming out to vote in the general election. A large primary means that both sides have an opportunity to gain ground with independents and see which ideologies might sway them. Both parties will evaluate the numbers to see who voted, work on turning them out, and craft a set of policies intended to steer independent votes their way. Each party wants to win the general, regardless of how the primaries go. The forces within the parties will come together. Which brings me to my last point. 

For all of the younger readers, people in every little section, culture, counterculture, educational philosophy, environmental group, awareness group, economic group, student forum ... this is your time to flex.

The parties will be looking at every demographic and evaluating this primary for any opening. Your group, the youth vote, the environmental vote, the Pro or Anti-HB444 vote, a vote on rail, a vote on the economy, will determine the climate of Hawaii politics in the future. This is the first real election, one in which the Democrats don’t have a stranglehold on every seat. Your vote can help seal their fate, or be cast toward their reelection. It will be an anticipatory vote for the 2012 presidential elections and the senate elections to follow.

The parties, the politicians, and the people will be looking to see which way the state moves. Even if your candidate isn’t elected, you’ve used your voice—arguably the most important one you have—to create a base from which the parties craft their policies on. 

If your groups and the youth don’t show up, they might as well not be constituents. Votes matter, numbers matter, your voice and vote matters. Hawaii has been discounted in many national elections over the years because of poor voter turnout and an overwhelming Liberal tendency. That may not and should not be the case anymore. VOTE.

In Hawaii we’ve all seen the power of collective bargaining in play. Collective bargaining is the free expression of voices working together—an idea that created the Hawaii we have today and fought against the injustices of yesterday. Use your voices to ensure that a collective bargain with the politicians of today, from the voices of tomorrow, will be heard. VOTE