Will Californians Have a Voice in 2012

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All I’m really hoping for in this presidential campaign season is that Republicans will have a real choice by the time Califonria’s primary comes around.

In 2008, the GOP crowned John McCain with the big prize before Republicans had a chance to participate in the California primary.  There’s reason to believe the frontrunner may have it wrapped up this time around too.  That would be a shame.

Many registered voters declare a party when they register so that they can participate in the primary process.  With the race being wrapped up before the campaign gets to the Golden State, it’s easy to lose interest. 

The State legislature voted to lump the California Primary into the regular June election cycle.  That saves money, and in a time where every dollar is important to the state’s bottom line, you can understand why the legislature made that decision.

We’ll see what the next few weeks bring.  For now, it’s a long shot that California will play a major role in the selection of the next Republican presidential candidate.

In the meantime, I found a fascinating polling tool to help undecideds determine which candidate best fits one’s feelings on issues that are making up this year’s race for the presidency.

A friend sent me a link to the USA Today website where a presidential preference measuring tool is available.  The web visitor answers eleven questions asking where the user stands on such issues as immigration, national defense, taxes, and energy. 

It then links the responses to the actual stands of the current slate of Republican candidates, as well as President Obama.  The tool then tells the visitor the candidate who most closely stands for the positions entered.  It also gives a second and third choice.

You can use the tool by following this link:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/candidate-match-game

I took the test over the weekend and was surprised by the results.  According to the tool, my top choice for President is John Huntsman.  Surprised?  I was.  But I wasn’t nearly as surprised by my number one computer choice as I was by number two.

The candidate for President who ranks second in my preference tool according to the USA Today site is none other than Barrack Obama. 

This is pretty remarkable given I didn’t vote for the President four years ago and have no intention of voting for him this time around.  In fact, I’ve never voted for the Democratic presidential candidate since I first voted for Gerald Ford in 1976.

I have voted for some Democrats over the years.  When I lived in upstate New York, I voted for Mario Cuomo in 1990.  The Governor was running against businessman Pierre Rinfret.  I had met Mr. Rinfret when he stopped by the television newroom I was working in for an interview. 

Seeing him off camera before and after the interview was enough to convince me that the incumbent Cuomo deserved my vote.

In California, I’ve voted for Congressman Cardoza the last two times.  Frankly, I’ll miss his leadership on Valley issues.  I’m sorry to see his seat lost to redistricting.

The USA Today poll, more than anything else, shows that in my case no candidate is a perfect fit.  But that’s all right with me. 

The primary season is the time to sort out the issues that are important to us.  It’s a time to critically evaluate how the candidates will deliver on the promises they make, how they will respond under pressure, and whether they have what it takes to be a leader.

By the way, if you’re wonder was my number three choice according to the USA Today preference tool, it was Mitt Romney.

Let’s hope Republicans get a chance to have their voices heard in June.

 Steve Newvine lives in Merced.