It’s not uncommon for Democrats to cancel late stage primaries if their party has already settled on a candidate after the early contests. In 2012 Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Virginia scratched their primaries because President Barack Obama was running unopposed and secured all the required delegates he would need to win the nomination at the Convention. It’s a bipartisan practice and the GOP canceled primaries in five states last autumn before a single snowflake had fallen in New Hampshire because Trump had no effective competition and there was no need to waist the time and money on a statewide primary.
On Monday New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary that was scheduled for June 23 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Andrew Spano of the State’s Board of Elections said he worried about potentially forcing voters and poll workers to choose between their democratic duty and their health. The decision to cancel a Democratic primary is left up to Democratic state election commissioners and they choose health over duty.
The commissioners skipped over a few important considerations in there rush to nix the primary:
- The primary date is almost 2 months away and the Chinavurus will be gone by summer.
- Joe Biden only has 1,305 delegates and he needs 1,991 to win nomination which means he’s 686 short.
- Bernie Sanders was still technically on the NY ballot and eligible to win delegates.
The recently passed NY state budget contained an obscure provision allowing the NY board of elections to remove names from the ballot of any candidates who have suspended or terminated their campaign. Earlier this month Democratic presidential candidate and US Senator Bernie Sanders announced he would suspend his campaign and support Joe Biden but he asked his supporters to continue voting for him. Sanders wanted leverage at the Democratic National Convention this summer and that requires delegates committed to his vision of democratic socialism. Commissioner Spano thwarted the Vermonter’s plan and reasoned it made sense to give voters an opportunity to choose in contested races but not to “have anyone on the ballot just for the purposes of issues at a convention.”
What some appointed (not-elected) leaders call “issues at a convention” are otherwise known as the democratic process of electing delegates that create a party platform and nominate a candidate to win the presidential election and enact the parties policies. For better or worse, it’s the way American representative democracy
works worked and the fact that one of the nation’s largest and most powerful states has prohibited the vote is a dereliction of duty.