High primary turnout good sign for Democrats this election year

I have good news for everybody. This year, we are electing a new president. After eight miserable years of ineffective and downright terrible leadership, somebody new will walk into the White House in a little less than a year and will attempt to clean up some of George W. Bush’s mess. The process by which we elect a new president, however, is a complicated one.

Primary season is always fun for political junkies like me. However, I suspect for those who aren’t as into politics as I am, this process is very confusing and maybe even off-putting.

As simply as I can put it: Each state holds a primary election or caucus (an archaic form of voting that involves grouping people together and does away with the secret ballot) to determine who receives its pledged delegates (folks who will vote for a candidate at the party’s convention). These delegates are either fully awarded to the winner of the election, or divvied up among all the candidates on a proportional basis.

In addition to pledged delegates, however, unpledged delegates will attend the convention and vote for whomever they want. Unpledged delegates are usually former officeholders and important people within the party. Whoever receives the most votes at the convention will become the party’s nominee and represent that party in the general election in November.

This process makes it nearly impossible to determine who is “winning.” Although Iowa and New Hampshire are considered important states, they account for less than 100 delegates in the Democratic National Convention out of more than 4,000. Far less than half of the delegates have even been awarded, so it is difficult to forecast who will end up winning either nomination.

That being said, the only clear winner in my eyes is the Democratic Party. We have set records for turnout in each state that awarded delegates — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. (Michigan and Florida were stripped of their delegates for rules violations.)

In South Carolina, Democratic primary voters outnumbered Republican primary voters for the first time since 1992. In Iowa, more than 220,000 Democrats voted, shattering the previous record of around 140,000.

The winds of change are blowing. This country is ready for a new direction in leadership, away from the divisiveness and war-mongering style of George W. Bush and the Republican Party, and toward the unifying message of the Democrats, who have plans to change the direction of the country. I personally can’t wait for this election — it’s going to be a great chance to change the direction of this country for the better.

Robert Kahne is the president of UK College Democrats. E-mail [email protected]