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As voting begins, Minnesota primary for president all but meaningless

Ely Echo - Staff Photo - Create Article

Election Day is on its way in Minnesota and absentee voting has already begun.

Of course we’re not writing about the general election in November and the slew of local, state and national races that will be decided that day, nor is this in reference to the August primary.

And no, the township elections on March 12 are not the subject of this editorial.

In case you’ve missed it, Minnesota is holding a presidential primary on Tuesday, March 5, and absentee voting started this week, Jan. 19.

It is indeed an election year, and the 2024 presidential race is already in full swing with the completion of this week’s Iowa caucuses and the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary to follow this Tuesday.

Of course in many ways presidential campaigns never end. They just move from one cycle to the next, with the 2024 race dominating much of the news a year ago with candidates coming in, and many if not most, already going by the wayside.

By most accounts, we’re on a collision course toward a rematch few Americans, at least according to opinion polls, are savoring to see.

Barring a major shift in the political winds or events not related to the campaign, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will square off in a return bout for the ages.  Or the aged.

Trump further cemented his status as the front-runner on the GOP side with a dominant win in Iowa earlier this week, collecting more votes than the rest of his foes combined and perhaps leaving the campaigns of Florida’s Ron DeSantis and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley in the dust.

Biden faces token opposition and incumbent presidents just don’t get  thrown out by their own party.

So it appears we’re heading toward Biden vs. Trump, Act II.

Much will be said and written about that campaign in the months to come, so we’ll circle back to the matter at hand - Minnesota’s March 5 primary.

Does it matter and is it even needed?

On both counts, the answer is probably no.

By the time Minnesota votes on “Super Tuesday,” odds are that the Trump vs. Biden rematch will be further carved in stone.

An upheaval of epic proportions would be needed within a few weeks to make Minnesota’s primary balloting anything more than a formality.

Despite that, election clerks at the state, county, city and township levels will be devoting precious time and resources in pursuit of a moot point.

We don’t know what local, county and state governments will spend to carry out the primary other to say it’s not cheap.

Voters, meanwhile, may be reluctant to take part, especially given the fact they must verbally  clarify what party’s primary ballot they want when they go in to vote.   That part of the secret ballot is non-existent, at least when it comes to presidential primaries.

Choosing a president is an enormous responsibility and we believe the citizenry should have its say in who makes it to November.

But the reality is that outside forces, ranging from money to the length of the campaign season to Minnesota’s spot on the calendar, make it extremely unlikely that our primary votes will have one iota of difference in regards to the ultimate result.

Because of that, nobody should be surprised that turnout is poor and that the presidential primary - at least in Minnesota this year - is one giant waste of time and resources.

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