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"Get your news weakly"SM 11 February 2008

Primary Voting Explained

Given the chaos of voting in this longer-then-normal presidential primary season, the Newsweakly political desk is proud to present this comprehensive Guide to Primary Voting.

The most important thing to understand is why this round of voting is called a "primary". To understand this critical issue, we must begin with the color choices used to designate each party: red for Republicans and blue for Democrats. These are primary colors. Without this simple color scheme, most political correspondents would be unable to determine which candidate was which, over a flurry of microphones and hyperbole. And so, thanks to the media, the primary scheme was born. It should be noted that the tradition of color-coded elections is not new, arising with along with the venerable tradition of pandering to an ill-informed electorate by an advertising-driven news media. Finally, some critics and revisionist historians have claimed that the designation of "primary" comes from the fact that these elections occur before the main election. However, the main event is generally considered of "primary" importance, so this is clearly a mistaken notion, leading to the color scheme as the only logical explanation.

Now that we understand the origins of the primary system, the next question is how a particular candidate is awarded votes. While this is a highly complicated issue designed to employ political pundits and election strategists for months on end, there are actually just two basic strategies used to varying degrees by each party: winner-take-all and proportional voting.

Winner-take-all is the simplest format to understand. In this system, the candidate with the most popular votes literally gets to take everything they want. Republicans naturally favor this method, since it leads to a life without ambiguity or nuance. However, there has been a small back-lash from a few states that have suffered at the hands of overzealous winners, who rape and pillage at will, subjugating the populace to their iron fist. In fact, much of the country has come to fear Arizona Senator John McCain. "He seems all reasonable, but just wait until he wins your state", said a mother of three who wished to remain anonymous. Of course, it was not simply McCain, since former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has also won several states. "Huckabee kept saying, 'I take all with the wrath of God!', it was just scary", said a young voter from Tennessee, also begging anonymity.


Proportional voting is a much subtler form of voting, emphasizing niche markets who could not possibly represent the vast majority of the county, making it the favored method of the Democratic Party. In proportional voting, candidates seek to maximize each vote. According to this scheme, each vote is proportional to its impact, so each candidate is encouraged to find the largest possible voters. Candidates can seek out the tallest voters, the widest voters, or ideally those who are both, since, in the proportional voting system, these voters count for more. Naturally, this has led to a significant amount of vote canvassing out in front of Casual Male Big & Tall and Lane Bryant stores across the country, as well as most NBA and NFL games. At this time, proportional voting does not extend to the size of the check mark made by each voter, as this would be silly.

The final issue to be understood is that of the "super delegates", which is the most subtle, potentially confusing, and thoroughly localized to the Democratic Party. Despite the air of mystery surrounding the concept, it is really quite simple: party insiders are better positioned to select a candidate than actual voters. With this simple dogma, the Democratic Party gives deciding votes and fancy red capes to elected officials, formerly elected officials, high-profile radio personalities, prom queens, and other people more popular than you in high school. This system allows the party to ensure that the candidate most likely to win a general election emerges from the party convention, as was the case when super delegates selected Walter Mondale over Gary Hart.

Virginia Primary Results Instructive

With the results of this week's Chesapeake Primary in Maryland, Virginia, and the District having been counted, the country finds both Arizona Senator John McCain and Illinois Senator Barack Obama farther ahead. More importantly, however, America has learned something valuable about itself: misogyny trumps racism. Long concerned about the viability of an African-American candidate on the national stage, many analysts were surprised to be reminded that the average male would still rather vote for a black man than any woman. "We in the news media had really lost sight of the fact that Hillary just lacks the right equipment to be president", said CNN correspondent Coyote Blitzen, adding, "When will that woman learn her place?"

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