Same Day Presidential Primary

In the United States of America, we should all have a voice in the decisions that effect us. Somehow this statement is surprisingly untrue regarding presidential elections. The Founding Fathers were very clear regarding the Electoral College and the final vote for president, but the nomination process leading to the final vote was left untouched, constitutionally speaking. Presidential primaries are a relatively new occurrence in the 241-year history of the United States, having begun only in the early 20th Century. Currently, primaries stretch across a 4-5-month period beginning in January and extending into June during the election year with lackluster turnout, save Super Tuesday, (a primary election day held with numerous states participating). This work will explore the creation of a Nationwide Concurrent Presidential Primary as a solution for all registered United States voters based on the popularity of Super Tuesday addressing the hypothesis of “same day voting increases voter turnout.”

The one thing all political candidates running for the Presidency of the United States can is agree on is that they want votes. To receive votes, there must be voter turnout. While the Founding Fathers were very clear in Article II of the Constitution. which calls for the Electoral College to gather and cast votes for the president, they left the nominating process untouched (Harrison et al, 2015, p. 67). The votes of the Electors are the actual concluding step in the long election process that begins much earlier at the state and territory level with delegate selection. Delegates are individuals selected by political parties for the express purpose of attending the National Conventions of their respective party and are now representative of “those votes that the presidential candidates all want.” For the first 140 years of the nation’s existence however delegates were selected from the political elite rather than a democratic vote of the people (Cowan, 2016, p. 2). The selection process changed in 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt called for the vote of the people. According to Cowan (2017) Roosevelt’s proclamation to “let the people rule” created 13 presidential primaries in the year 1912 of which Roosevelt handily won 9 (p. 2). However, when the presidential nominating convention finalized the nominating process Roosevelt was not selected as the republican nominee, rather Taft was nominated by his “party bosses, federal office holders and political cronies” (Cowan, 2017, p. 2). Woodrow Wilson, who would become president in 1912 was the first President of the United States (POTUS) to call upon congress for a bill for a Nationwide Primary, albeit unsuccessfully (Cowan, 2017, p. 3). Since then, a Nationwide Primary has been proposed many times, each time unsuccessfully. Currently, states and territories and political parties themselves run successful primaries and caucuses while governing all aspects of them and even “determine the timing of primary elections” (Harrison, et al, p. 278). Yet, voter turnout in primaries continues to pale in comparison to voter turnout in the general election, which is held upon a single voting day. Chart 1 displays voter participant totals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 primaries versus general election totals of the same year.

Still a candidate must get voters to the primaries in order to receive the nomination of their respective parties and compete in the general election. The key is turnout. Does same day voting increase voter turnout?

More to come

The Revelation that is Tomato Jam…Bucket List Part Two

After we’d seen many Smithsonians, the night before the rest of the group left from DC, we all went to a great restaurant, called The Mussel Bar and Grille, in Arlington, Virginia.  The restaurant, had come to me highly recommended from a gentleman that I know, and his suggestion delivered. While it’s name speaks seafood, the restaurant is Belgian-inspired and it’s menu is an eclectic mix of seafood, (mussels of course) wood fired pizzas and meats and seasonal salads, and it is where I first tasted tomato jam. 

Aside from coffee, I had been eating seafood for literally the first 2 weeks of the trip and just wanted a break from it…so I scanned the menu and found the MB&G burger.  The burger was topped with smoked mozzarella, arugula and the revelation that is tomato jam. Yes, tomato jam…not ketchup, tomato jam.  

I had passed on a tomato jam and peanut butter burger, in DC the weeks prior,  as it just seemed too rich, too weird, just too much. But, at the Mussel Bar, ( Musselbar.com ) I figured I could wipe the tomato jam off the burger if it was glorified ketchup, as I’m just not a ketchup fan.  But, ever since I had that burger, I never want to eat another burger without tomato jam on it.

The sweetness of the jam (as tomato jam is just tomatoes and sugar ) on the burger counter-played the grilled meat and smoked mozzarella and the opposites captured my senses. In fact, I spent the rest of the trip scanning menus for burgers with tomato jam and searched every gift shop and store for the same,  in hopes that if I didn’t find another burger slathered with  the jam, I could make my own. But to no avail, eventually  the only place I found the jam was on Amazon from the Amish.  I also asked at the Mussel Bar and Grille if they used a certain brand, but they told me they made their own. 

Tim, Robin and Kenny all opted to eat mussels, which they all admit were the best muscles they ever tried. Tim ordered the Mediterranean Mussels,  while Robin and Kenny shared the White Wine variation.   The mussels come in a cast iron skillet soaking in the sauce with bread baskets, that were never empty on the side, to soak up the sauce.  It was one of the few times during the trip where the table was completely quiet while we ate…the restaurant, and of course the food was just that, delicious. 

More to come..,

Bucket List Items…Check. Part One.

For myself the trip up the East Coast was a long awaited wish list item. Subcategories of the East Coast wish list included seeing Smithsonian Museums, walking through Central Park in New York and seeing famed works of art at the  Museum of Modern Art, visiting Jefferson’s home Monticello, wandering about Walden Pond like Henry David Thoreau, cheering the Boston Red Sox at a game in Fenway Park, eating clam chowder in Boston, pizza and a bagel in New York, and lobster in Maine. I can say we put check marks next to all of those. 

Pictured above is the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art.  

At the National Gallery of Art I was able to see a painting titled Giant Magnolias on Blue Velvet, by Hudson River School Artist,  Martin Johnson Heade.  As many of my friends know I paint for hobby, and I have painted a study of a different version of the giant magnolias myself. Mine however is a later version of the same still life as MJH would paint multiple versions over successive days as the flowers while his subject wilted. Interestingly, I showed a photo of my version to a museum docent, because there were many artists throughout the National Gallery of Art that were painting copies of works in the collection.  The docent wrote down my name and passed it to the curators in hopes that I might receive a residency to paint this particular version of MJH’s painting.  So hopefully, DC, I will soon return with paintbrush and canvas in hand.

Here we are, the two of us celebrating at Fenway. Our seats were actually next to each other but for the selfie shot this was easier.  We’re rocking our Boston Red Sox hats that have Fenway embroidered on the bill. Sadly we hit a losing night.  This is actually a picture of a lobster roll I had in Maine at the Allagash Brewery, while Tim went on the brewery tour. This lobster roll is prepared Connecticut style, which I found I liked it much better then the Massachusetts style lobster roll. The Connecticut style has a grilled garlic bread roll topped with lobster and you’re given butter and lemon on the side. The Massachusetts style roll has mayonnaise mixed in with the lobster. I found that combo a bit too rich for my taste buds.

Tim really enjoyed the Allagash Brewery and got himself a lobster roll following his tour also. His favorite beer was  this seasonal ale James Bean. The ale is aged in bourbon barrels and awarded a dousing of cold brew coffee. I bought this bottle at Total Wine just last week. Tim also bought bottles at the brewery.

While we’re on food items here’s a picture of our pizza we had in New York, the night we arrived. Margherita with olives, meatballs, and magnifico!Everything I’ve been told about New York pizza is true. You could fold over the crust and the pizza melted in your mouth as your tastebuds escalate to heaven. There’s a smoothness to the sauce that blends all the flavors together. We ate this pie at Angelo’s  on 57th very close to Carnegie Hall amongst locals who knew where their seats were, and were so well known to the staff that they probably had their orders ready upon arrival.  

I’ll add part two in the next couple of days, but in the meantime I’ve left you with pizza, beer, lobster and Fenway Park to hold you over.

Traveling from Latitude 34 to the East Coast. First Stop- DC

At the end of May, the family and I embarked upon a trip to the East Coast that would last over a month. First stop- D.C.  First travel journal entry was also in D.C.

Since I write some poetry, I bought a leather bound lined journal in L.A. where I live, (which is situated at Latitude 34 on your globe, hence the blog name)  to record thoughts …maybe write some poetry…but, when I opened up the journal a few days later, recording the trip, filled the pages.  And, I found I liked writing about our escapades…a lot. I carried the journal, and a pen with me from D.C., to the Caribbean and Bahamas, and all the way up the East Coast to Maine. In the end, I filled 200 pages of the journal with heart felt nuances of the travel, road descriptions, postcards, maps, excellent foodie stops, laughter, and the pleasures of the trip and decided to share it.  So here goes. cropped-img_1199.jpgTravel with me as I post a photo and a paragraph or two.