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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Diss-course

    Portentious Primaries

    The story: At a political rally after the Florida primaries last Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate John McCain told a crowd of cheering supporters that “”in one week we will have as close to a national primary as we have ever had in this country.”” That means today, when Arizona holds its presidential primary elections, along with 23 other states.

    The response: Today is Super Tuesday, so if you haven’t yet, go vote! Old Pueblo polls close at 7 p.m.

    The run-up to today’s “”tsunami”” vote has been an unprecedented presidential horse race. Candidate standings, in the early months of the race, were as predictable as the opening trading prices of the Dow Jones. As a result, the presidential primary is largely undetermined: Super Tuesday voters may actually get an influence proportional to their vote.

    There is no landslide front-runner going into Super Tuesday for either party. In years past, the nominees have been more or less determined by today. Two Brown University economists, Brian Knight and Nathan Schiff, showed in a National Bureau of Economics Research paper that voters in early primary states, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, have up to 20 times the influence of voters in later states in the selection of candidates.

    Many have criticized the American primary and caucus system as undemocratic. The current system has a tendency to give a minority of voters disproportional influence. Many political scientists advocate a simultaneous national primary system as a more democratic alternative. The enormous up-front funding a national campaign could require, however, would forever prevent small-name candidates and third-party candidates from gaining national coverage.

    McCain’s presidential odyssey is an example of the power of a staggered primary system. Due to staff shakeups in late summer, his campaign was written off by many analysts as a defunct and disastrous wagon ride, doomed to capsize fording the early August river. A huge victory in New Hampshire reinvigorated his campaign, however, giving him the leverage, endorsements and funding to re-launch a national campaign, turning him into the favored GOP candidate for Super Tuesday.

    This year’s race is shaping up to be an exciting balance between a national primary and a staggered contest. Arizona voters are offered perhaps the best opportunity they have ever had to influence the national nominations. Today is a historic day for the American political system. So get out and cast your vote!

    -Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.


    Connecticut Craigslist caper

    The story: A Connecticut man selling high-grade marijuana on Craigslist.org came across a “”buyer”” who contacted him and turned out to be an undercover officer. Police said Steven Zahorsky, 24, posted an ad for “”Mary Jane in Fairfield County.”” Local police spotted the ad and responded, claiming to be a painting crew interested in buying drugs during a work break.

    The response: As a resident of California, I can’t help but find it humorous that police would put so much energy into detecting online marijuana sales instead of solving serious issues such as homicide, theft and child molestation. A friend attending University of California-Berkeley mentioned that police in the city of Berkeley would be angrier with someone reporting the presence of marijuana than with someone putting it to good use or selling it to others. This apathy is common, and marijuana doesn’t exactly kill anyone and should not be prioritized over other huge problems going on.

    Even so, Zahorsky should have at least been discreet in going about his illegal sales. There are far more dangerous and serious drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, that are likely to draw police attention, so perhaps Zahorsky believed marijuana was not a big enough deal for the police to put energy into catching. Yet it’s incredibly irresponsible and stupid of someone to think they can get away with selling drugs on the Internet, and doing so is basically asking to be arrested and to go to court. If more important issues are not going on in Connecticut, it’s understandable that the police would browse Craigslist and punish any drug-dealing that they come across. If anything, Zahorsky should be more private if he continues selling marijuana and police should put more of their energy into catching online predators if they insist on watching the Web.

    – Laura Donovan is a creative writing sophomore.

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