It says something about this election campaign that the candidate I’m most appreciative of right now is Mitt Romney, as his withdrawl from the Republican nomination means I’ll only have about half as many candidate spots on my television to deal with leading up to Ohio’s primary next month. Ohio doesn’t look to be in play for Huckabee, and by the time Ohio rolls around I think Huckabee’s momentum will be completely drained so McCain won’t have any real need to buy more but a sprinkling of ad time locally. The Democratic nomination will still definitely be in play by the time of the primary, though, and although part of me feels like I should be excited that there’s finally an Ohio primary that might matter, I am not looking forward to a month of dueling Clinton and Obama spots on every show on the dial. I got sick enough of those spots leading up to the Michigan primary (even though only Republicans bought ad time on Fox Sports Net Detroit), and I’m tired of watching the Obama and McCain spots that air on Countdown. Given how tight the Democratic race is right now, and given how close Ohio was in the 2004 election, I’m guessing that any moment now I won’t be able to watch a half-hour of any commercial network on cable without seeing a Clinton or Obama ad buy.
I’ll be skipping the primary vote, because there won’t be anything else on the ballot that day and because I can’t vote in the "official" state primaries because doing so automatically registers me as a member of whatever party’s primary I vote in. I would much rather see Obama as the Democratic nominee than Clinton, but I’m probably not going to vote for him in the general election anyway. More to the point, I still remember several registered Democrats in my first-semester MA classes who got hassled by Ohio Republicans that year as the Republican Party challenged the voter registration of several people I knew, holding off on submitting the challenges until the legal deadline so that the students couldn’t call off of work on such short notice to attend the hearings about their registrations. I can’t help but wonder if Ohio Democrats might not try something similar with we Greens this year, given how ridiculous they were last time around in making sure that not even Nader’s write-in votes would get counted. (Seriously, if they’d put that kind of effort into promoting their own candidate then Kerry might be in the White House now.)
Ohio’s Green Party will handle its primary at their convention in April, although people who won’t be attending can mail or e-mail a ballot before then. I think I may actually go to the convention, though, even though it’s all the way across the state and there’s no way I could reasonably make a daytrip of it. I’m still hoping that Nader gets in the race again, because I don’t like the prospect of Cynthia McKinney winning the nomination; I’m still not getting a good vibe off of her. If Nader doesn’t come in then I’ll probably vote in the primary for Kent Mesplay, but I think the Greens need Nader more than ever now. Particularly if Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, people are going to need an alternative to the spectre of four or eight years of DLC neoliberalism, and even if there isn’t a realistic chance of winning the presidency, at the very least we might stand a chance of getting that magical 5% of the popular vote that would give the Greens tens of millions of dollars of federal matching funds in 2012. I haven’t been too directly involved with the Green Party itself since I first registered to vote, but more than ever now I feel compelled to do what I can to help the party along.