Although there are still many months until the Republican primary for Virginia’s Senate seat, some people are already calling the result. Now such personal predictions don’t bother me. It is true that George Allen is leading in race currently, in much the same way as Rick Perry is leading in the race for President. One, both, or neither of them could end up winning. If you will recall, four years ago Rudy Giuliani was the clear front-runner for the GOP nomination for President while John McCain’s campaign seems to be in total disarray. We all know how that situation played out. However, when the press starts picking winners and losers, I certainly have a problem.
Yesterday, I received word, first from the Radtke campaign and then from the Donner campaign, that the Virginia Associated Press and the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association have more or less determined the outcome of the race. They just announced a Senate candidate debate in December. Rather than inviting all of the legitimate Republican candidates, presently they are only allowing George Allen and Tim Kaine to participate. Now this event would be all well and good if both Allen and Kaine were their respective party nominees. But, as the primary has not taken place, they are not.
Although I would expect that most of the conservative activists who support Allen would merely shrug and consider it a win for Allen, the press is tampering with something far larger and more important than this one election. Sure, many debates have limited candidates based upon exceedingly low poll numbers, but a threshold of 15%? Is that reasonable? And then you add the additional hurdle of fundraising too? As the Radtke campaign writes, “By their logic, an AP / VCCA presidential debate in Virginia would include only Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. The AP and VCCA would exclude Ron Paul (9.8%), Michele Bachmann (6.8%), Newt Gingrich (6.2%), Herman Cain (5.4%), Rick Santorum (1.8%) and Jon Huntsman (1.4%).”
As the Donner campaign asks, “Do you want the chance to elect your own candidates, or do you think the media and pollsters in league with the usual cronies should decide that for you?” For anyone who has the slightest desire to uphold our system of representative democracy, the answer is obvious.
I recommend emailing the Virginia Associated Press at email@example.com and the VCCA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a stand. Let them know that the voters, not the press, have the duty to select our nominees.