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Caucus Reform

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Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

In their eagerness to humiliate Pingree and cripple his adminisiration the Detroit politicians who have the ear of the legislature seera willing to sacrilice not only the essential principies of local self government, but to surrender as well the control of party organizations and the primaries to the censorship of an appointive board. This is reform running wild without guiding hand or apparent destination. The primary election law now under consideration by the legislature is not in the line of any true reform. At best it only airhs at the transfer of allegiance from one political boss to another. But it is not the business of the state to insure the smooth and efficiënt working of party machinery. The association of voters for the purpose of impressing some particular idea or set of ideas, upon legislation, municipal, state or national, is purely voluntary. Their organizations, their choice of leaders, their selection of candidates is a matter which primarily concerns the parties to that association and no one else. The people pass judgment upon those selections and the ideas for which they stand at the polls. When the motives which lead to an association for political purposes are no longer strong enough to attract the attention of members to detail it is futile for ïhe state to intercede. A bad nomination is a symptom of party decadence. It is a notice to the public that there is nothing in the objects and purposes of the orgamzation making it, beyond official patronage, to enlist the attention of the disinterested citizen. The state, according to the early American idea, is the instrument for registering the popular will. The processes by which that will is fashioned must always, in a free government, be kept beyond the reach of official influence. It is not contemplated that that influence should mould opinión or direct the growth of sentiment. Those are functions of despotic governments. The bill in question has but one object and can have but one effect - to control an ignorant and vicious party following and give the direction of affairs into the hands of a class too indolent, too careless or tooover-nice to meet the common herd on an equal footing in the primary. The only real abuses which have grown upon our present systeni of primary elections are those of neglect. Their correction does not require any surrender of the principies which underlie party government. At any time that a majority of the voters of any party are in favor of cleaner men and cleaner methods they have the power to effect the reform. The fastidious "400" who (]o not mix in the vulgar current of ward politics get just as good government as they deserve and it is idle in this age to atterapt to raise the standard of ! izenship by state censorship.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News