A Hotel Systems International Service 30 MARCH 2, 1979 Political integrity. . . from page 2 one. And national Democratic chairman John White, a Texan, opposes any presidential primary, figuring that incumbent President Carter would fare better in a convention process. But helping Connally is the least of it. Clayton and the other backers of this bill are mainly pushing it in order to help themselves. Their split primary was designed to ensure that Republican-minded voters dominate the nomination of Democratic candidates. “The task at hand is preserving conservative government in Texas,” Clayton told the Dallas Times Herald when asked about his bill, adding, “I’m not worried about who’ll be president. I’m talking about state government.” the current law \(which does not provide for a presidential priput a presidential preference primary on its May ballot anyway. A hot Connally-Reagan-Bush race would pull Republican-minded voters out of the Democratic primary on that day and into the Republican column, leaving only real cratic preference primary were also held on the same day, and a heated race developed between, say, Carter and Sen. Ted Kennedy, it would pull hordes of moderate and progressive Democrats out of their doldrums and into the polling booths. While there, these Democrats would also choose the party’s state and local nominees, much to the peril of the closet-Republican canRepublican-minded voters would not return in the future to the Democratic primary, having finally converted to their true faith, to the detriment of the closet-Republican wing of the Demopower of the state’s special-interest establishment would be seriously weakened in the Democratic primary. If the leadership has its way on this bill, neither party will be able to maintain any integrity in its nominating process. Current law does not guarantee that a person voting, in the Demo cratic primary is really a Democrat at heart, but at least the voter has to choose which party to participate inhe or she cannot dabble in both. And with the recent surge that Governor Clements and others have given toward becoming a legitimate two-party state, we are beginning to bring competitive integrity to our political system, but this bill would undo that progress and allow opportunists to prostitute the two parties. The greatest price Texans will pay for such a contrived and selfish system will be increased public cynicism, which is already alarmingly pervasive, as reflected by dismal voter turnout statistics. More than eight million Texans were eligible to vote last year, when there were legislative, congressional, U.S. Senate, gubernatorial, and other statewide seats at stake. Yet only 2.3 million of them votedan unbelievably low 28 percent turnout. The presidential primaries naturally produce much greater voter participation \(4.2 million Texans voted in the 1976 Demoartificially separated from the state and local nominating process by politicians who are afraid to face the real Democratic and real Republican voters in their respective primaries. Instead of discouraging voters by making it more difficult, timeconsuming, and costly to participate, we should be encouraging turnout by holding same-day nominating primaries for all offices, including president. If enough Democratic and Republican statesmen and women cannot be found in the House and Senate to create the same-day primary, then we should enact no presidential primary legislation at all. In that event, both the Democratic and Republican state executive committees may, if they choose, place presidential aspriants on their primary ballots anyway; or they may rely entirely on the convention system. At least, this would not make the system worse, and that’s more than you can say for SB 602. 0 John Bryant, a state representative from Dallas, is chairman of the House Study Group.
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.