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Do we want our political party choosing who represents us, or do we want to choose?

The purpose of primary elections are to select from multiple candidates, one candidate to represent the party in the general election. Does a political party that supports one candidate over another, prior to that state's primary circumvent the law and does this practice cause some voters to be disenfranchised? Congressional candidate Barry Michaels who is running for Nevada's 3rd., district, believes it does.

"If party members believe there are no other candidates running, other than those the party has endorsed, there would be little reason to vote since candidates who run unopposed automatically win. In fact, party officials go even further by pretending there is no primary and their chosen candidate is already challenging the incumbent. After all, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has long adopted the opinion that political parties are neither absolute nor comprehensive as to the rights enjoyed by wholly private associations.

Apparently these practices occur all the time especially on official party websites where the public is led to believe their candidates are the only ones running. Statements such as: "meet the candidates" and "this website is updated every Monday from the FEC filings," are deliberate attempts to mislead party members and sway their votes toward the candidates they have chosen. Not only does he believe this is a deceptive practice, but it also creates an environment that smells of deliberate unfair competition. Every candidate should have an equal opportunity to represent the party and this should be decided by the entire membership through the primary ballot.

In states where party nominees are chosen by a primary election, the party should not endorse or promote any one candidate over another, prior to that state's primary. It is the government's responsibility to determine who is a candidate and what party if any they represent. In a democratic society such as ours, citizens are given the right to elect their representatives not just a few party elites.

Can various antitrust laws used to prevent anticompetitive practices and encourage unfettered competition be applied to political party's that promote unfair competitive tactics? Michaels also believes there is great similarity between marketing a commercial product and running a political campaign.

These practices interfere with one of our most important constitutional rights, the right to vote. To be sure they include the right to be informed of all the candidates, registered with a party, that are running for office? Can one have an educated vote when parties continue to indulge in "back room, old boy's club" politics? Can the voters' voice be heard when the parties loudly promote the status quo?

Do we want our political party choosing who represents us, or do we want to choose?

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