It’s time Washingtonians ended the presidential primary charade. After all, why spend $11.5 million leading voters into thinking they’re participating in the 2016 presidential nominating process when they’re not?
In 1989, the Washington Legislature accepted Initiative 99. This measure was intended to have major party nominees selected through a primary election rather than caucuses.
Not once since I-99 passed has the plan to have delegates selected by the primary election rather than caucuses worked as it was intended. Instead, the parties have benefited from the creation of what amounts to a tax-funded poll requiring party registration. They use the lists generated for fund-raising and campaigning purposes, all the while largely ignoring the results.
With the exception of Republicans apportioning a minority of their delegates based on the primary, neither party has ever truly held up their end of the bargain of allocating delegates according to the taxpayer funded election results.
In the most recent presidential election, 2012, similar to 2004, there was no vote at all; the token primaries were suspended to save money, a wise decision that should be repeated in 2016.
As then-Gov. Gary Locke said in 2004: ''It's senseless to waste taxpayer money on an election that serves no practical purpose … It is wasteful, irresponsible and indefensible to go ahead with the primary.”
Washington’s presidential primaries are a fraudulent waste of taxpayer money. Please join me in telling our elected representatives, “We’re not interested in spending $11.5 million to generate lists for political party insiders. Please repeal I-99 and stop using our taxes to mislead the public.”
Recently the state Republican Party voted for the first time, to bind all of its delegates to vote at the national convention based on the outcome of the primary.
On the surface this might sound good. It’s not.
This election only affects the outcome for one party’s nominee. It is perfectly legal to caucus with one political party, and vote for a candidate from the other one.
It is both legal – and for Democrats, only rational – to caucus for a candidate of their party, then vote on the ballot to influence the Republican Party’s nominee.
Say what you will about the Democrats’ choice to ignore the popular vote and continue using the caucus process as they always have, knowing that, it defies logic for Republicans to choose to bind their delegates to the primary.
If you want your vote to count in 2016, your only option is voting Republican. If you're a Democrat, this probably means voting for the candidate you think would be easiest for your preferred Democratic candidate to defeat.
Matthew Hayward is a Thurston County Republican precinct committee officer and former political director for the county Republican Party.