The 2024 presidential primaries in New York – were they really necessary?

The day this post is published, April 2, 2024, is presidential primaries Election Day in New York State.  Perhaps you didn’t notice.  If so don’t feel bad, you have lots of company.

The Democratic Party has decided on Joe Biden.  The Republicans have settled on Donald Trump.  Both have secured enough delegates to be selected as their party’s nominee at the summer conventions.  There were no TV ads or mailers for the New York primaries, and if there was any door-to-door activity it would seem that it was all for naught.

Officially there are several candidates in these primaries.  Democrats can chose among Biden, Marianne Williamson, and Dean Phillips.  Republicans can vote for Trump, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswamy, or Nikki Haley.

The Erie County Board of Elections ran eight days of early voting for the presidential primaries.  There are at last count a total of 283, 881 Democrats and 157,612 Republicans registered to vote in the county.  The Board of Elections, after eight days of fully staffed voting in 38 locations, reported that 3,597 Democrats (1.3 percent of those eligible) participated in the early voting.  The number for Republicans was 1,620  (1 percent.)

Of course if you are reading this on April 2nd you still have until 9 p.m. today to go vote at your regular voting location; you might want to check on where that is, since there are some election district consolidations going on.

As you might imagine, my interest in politics would likely put me at the top of the list of regular voters.  It has been that way since I first got the right to vote in the 1970’s.  But despite that history I did not vote early this year and I don’t plan to do so today either.

This is not some protest action and I would guess it is also the same for many other voters.  I support Joe Biden’s re-election.  I just did not see any point to voting in this election.

Having seen multiple TV ads for Tim Kennedy’s congressional election, some voters who did vote early or will come out today might have mistakenly assumed that this was the day when we would elect a new member of Congress.  That will have to wait.  For those registered voters in NY26 the early voting (again) will run from April 20 through April 28, with the special election held on April 30.

If Nate McMurray or someone else chooses to challenge Kennedy in the Democratic primary for the full two-year term as our NY26 representative there will also be early voting for that election from June 15 through June 23, with the primary on June 25.

All of these voting opportunities (29 days over a nine-week period) are amazing.  With the leader of their party still railing against early voting, Republicans must be conflicted.  Democrats don’t have that problem, which will be particularly evident in November.

You might ask, why is this election being held – at great expense.  The Gothamist, a non-profit local newsroom operating in New York City, explains:

While [Andrew Yang in 2020] suspended his presidential campaign in February of that year, when officials announced they were canceling the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, he joined with delegate candidates pledged to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a lawsuit demanding that the election be held — and they won.

So the state is required to run these meaningless primaries in 2024.  The Gothamist reports that New York City alone will spend $25 million conducting the elections.  A total of 55,879 Democrats and Republicans voted early in the city (1.6 percent of those eligible).

Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr told WBEN this morning that early voting in Erie County cost $850,000.

In my recollections about presidential primaries past in Erie County and the rest of the state, there were many years when the attention and involvement was much more intense.  In 1968 Joe Crangle’s Erie County Democratic Committee pulled votes for Bobby Kennedy, whose name was still on the ballot even though he had been assassinated two or three weeks prior.  There were seriously contested races involving Shirley Chisholm running against George McGovern in 1972, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford in 1976, Ted Kennedy versus Jimmy Carter in 1980, Bill Clinton against a bunch of folks in 1992, and John Kerry challenged by Bill Bradley and others in 2004.

The candidates in those presidential primaries were more involved in debating real issues.  The contests were generally more civil than what occurs today.  There aren’t and can’t be civil elections as long as Donald Trump is still a candidate and is leading a political party.

One of the fun things about this blog is seeing that some readers go back in the history of Politics and Other Stuff (now in our tenth year) and look up posts from long ago that may still have some relevance today.  I recently noticed that some folks had dug out a post from late 2015, just as the 2016 presidential election was getting underway.

The post (entitled “May the Force be with you,”) discussed the results of a national poll about the election from a Star Wars point of view.  Here are some highlights from the poll:

Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi would defeat all current American presidential candidates

The Order of the Jedi was more popular than either the Republican or Democratic parties

Hillary Clinton would defeat Darth Vader by a two-to-one margin, 32 to 16 percent

Jedi Master Yoda would defeat Trump 42 to 24 percent

Ah, but it seems that such observations were from “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away…”

X/Twitter @kenkruly

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The post The 2024 presidential primaries in New York – were they really necessary? appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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