The Blanket Primary in Louisiana

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The Blanket Primary in Louisiana

The Blanket Primary in Louisiana is “unique primary system”. The Blanket Primary is also known as a “Jungle” Primary in Partisan elections. The reason it’s called a blanket primary is because the party affiliation is not mentioned on the ballot. The winner of the primary is the candidate who has the majority of the vote. If two candidates have the majority of the vote, they run against each other in a run off regardless of their party affiliation. In Louisiana, there is a possibility that a Republican can run against another Republican if two Republicans happen to have the majority of the vote. The blanket primary was established by Governor Edwin Edwards in the 1980’s. Governor Edwards was a Democrat. He basically created the blanket policy because he wanted to give Democrats a chance to beat the Republicans in office by forcing them into the same election as the Libertarians, Democrats, and Independents. Tannahill believes that this was one of the main reasons that Edwards won four consecutive terms as governor. (Another possibility could be the aspect of retrospective voting.) I believe this was one of the reasons why voters kept Edwards in office regardless of his allegations for racketeering. Louisiana had a domineering Republican candidacy and without having the party affiliations on the ballot, voters were responsible for researching the background of the candidates since they could not see which party their favorite candidate was affiliated with.

The advantages of the blanket primary system in Louisiana include the fact that voter who usually vote for their affiliated party (regardless of the candidates experience or personal goals in office) , is now forced to research the candidates and find information about their views and objectives without the media trying to sway them. They are able to focus on the potential the candidates have as opposed to their support system. The blanket primary system also allows independents and libertarians to have a better chance than if they were running against mentioned Democrats and Republicans.

Disadvantages of the blanket primary include the fact that not all voters will search for information about the candidates. Some voters will vote for someone based on their name, the amount of signs they have seen for them, or in Edwards case (which I think this is the real reason why he was re-elected), voters became comfortable with him and since he hadn’t made any decisions that negatively affected the voters, they decided to keep him in office. It’s a similar theory of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” People are afraid of change. Most of the time, voters only change if they have to. In Obama’s case, he took advantage of that fact and turned the fears into hopes when he said “America need change. Now is the time.” Edwards also created a disadvantage to Republicans. Republicans were a strong party with a large group of supporters. When the blanket primary started, many undereducated voters who would vote Republican based on the fact that they like Republicans, did not know who was running for their party and if they didn’t educate themselves, would have to pick a candidate, not knowing which party they were voting for to be represented. Personally, even though it was a disadvantage to Republicans, I feel it was an advantage to the state and will open more possibilities for a better future because now it opens up possibilities for Independents and Libertarians to get elected. As a voter who shares many Libertarian views, I believe that the two sided system is harming American and has American’s thinking in a closed minded way. The fact that American’s can even vote for all candidates in one party affiliation shows that they don’t care who is best for the job, they just want someone to represent the Country, State, or Community, that shares the same moral views as themselves. Citizens say all the time that we need to get out of debt, but they...
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