The Republicans will select their delegates May 18–21 at its state convention in Pasco without any idea whom the state Republican primary voters will support on May 24. Democrats have already had their precinct caucuses, which will result in a large contingent of pro-Bernie Sanders delegates being sent to the Democratic National Convention.
Pollsters also asked the voters surveyed whether they plan to vote in the State May 24 presidential primary. The Washington Democratic Party will pay no attention, not a bit, to the results of the primary because it is selecting its pledged delegates through the caucus/convention system. The Republican Party will however because the vote for a nominee of the state’s delegates at the GOP national convention will be cast based on the primary vote.
This year voters in Washington could have their say on two initiatives that try to tackle corporate influence on government and elections. This first, Initiative 735, is a legislative moonshot, aiming at the Citizens United ruling itself. The other proposed initiative, Initiative 1464, tackles the reality that moneyed interests don’t just fund SuperPACs.
The old system steered toward moderation because it was run mostly by local and state officials who had won general elections and then had to govern. Today, delegates are chosen by primary voters, a much smaller, narrower and more extreme slice of the country. It is ironic that the old smoke-filled rooms were in some sense more representative of the general voter than the open primaries of today. The old parties drew their strength from neighborhood organizations, churches, unions and local business groups. The new parties are really just Rolodexes of Washington professionals.
The enduring lesson of Campaign 2016 for Democrats is that the center cannot hold. Over the past two weeks, it’s become increasingly obvious that grassroots liberals are thoroughly disgusted by their own party establishment. The Republicans no doubt face a brutal convention, in which they must either nominate an unpopular candidate or incur the wrath of the masses by handpicking an establishment figure. But the Democrats already face a kind of inverse dilemma.