Pretend Primary '08--Because Our Votes Don't Count
By the time Virginia, Maryland and the District get around to picking their convention delegates in a regional primary on Feb. 12, 33 states will have already chosen whom they'd like to be president. We will be such a ridiculous afterthought that no candidate in his right mind would bother to spend a penny here, let alone doing any campaigning or giving us a look at their TV messages. In presidential politics this year, this entire region is as irrelevant as a D.C. voter is every year. (Today's column gets into this in greater detail.)
That's why we're having our own Pretend Primary campaign, right here, right now.
For the next seven Thursdays, we'll conduct our own campaign, and then on the eighth Thursday, Dec. 13, we'll vote. Whether or not the candidates care about Virginia, Maryland and the District, we'll figure out what issues are specific to this region, and then debate them right here. If the candidates care to let us know what they think about the issues that matter here, we welcome their participation. If not, we'll know where we stand. I, for one, don't care a bit about former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack's endorsement of Hillary Clinton or about Mitt Romney's commitment to "New Hampshire values."
But I'd be fascinated to hear the presidential candidates talk about how sprawl, longer commutes and the collapse of affordable housing in places like Maryland and Virginia have diminished the quality of life for American families and I'd love to hear them talk about income inequality and how the federal government's funding decisions can help steer us back toward a more satisfying sense of community.
More important, I'd like to see you spell out the issues you're not hearing the candidates address. This is not the place to dig into the war, terrorism, or homeland security--those issues sit comfortably atop nearly all the polls about what Americans care about in this election, and for better or worse, the candidates are talking about those subjects in Iowa and New Hampshire. This is the place to identify those issues that are of greater concern in this part of the country than they may be where the campaigns are taking place. So please come ahead with your comments and questions on those issues, and who knows, maybe we'll get a response from a candidate or three.
By Marc Fisher |
October 25, 2007; 7:16 AM ET
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