Newspaper Page Text
Oood In Theory But Not In Practice. The most enthusiastic advocate of the popular primary for state offices is forced to admit the validi ty of many of the objections urged against it. While it cures some of the abuses of the old ( onvention system, it has developed others ful ly as dangerous, perhaps more so, and there seems no possibility of ' hedging it about so as to prevent i or eliminate them. In the primary j just held there were over 30 candi-j dates for state office on the Diino- j cratic ticket alone and of that num ber not over a half a dozen perhaps were known generally throughout1 the state. Casting an intelligent! ballot, even among men familiar j with the ins and outs of state poli tics and supposed to know the vari-l ous candidates and their affiliations ( was difficult to the average man, uninformed, next to impossible. He either had to follow the guidance , of those who made a pretence of knowing, the politicians and "bosses" much maligned, or make a guess on his own account. In the former! case boss rule is fully as pronounc ed as under the convention system, the main evil sought to be remov-J ed, and in the latter the verdict would be fully as intelligent, as if he had been blindfolded and com pelled to choose his ticket by tak ing printed slips from a hat. It will be urged in reply that the pri mary will in time become educa tioual and that voters will take pains to inform themselves. Per haps, but not likely. The average ' man is busy making a living for himself and family and lacks and time and opportunity to acquaint ' himselt with the intricacies and' ramifications of state and national politics. He has convictions, and intelligent convictions, astopoliti-i cal principles and matters of gov- ernmental policy, but if he kept track of even the more prominent , individuals asking his suffrage would have to quit work and make I politics a bus'inr-: V-nsnr to it entirely. Tm n-c 1.11101 and will not do. The r h , encour ages mediocre and i. vir . men to run for office in the hope tnat the popular guess will fall upon them - men without abili ty, without experience and un known outside of their own counties Thi3 fact was demonstrated in half a dozen instances during the recent campaign and the men we have in ' mind were candidates for some of , the most important offices having to do with public administration j were unfit at that for even positions 01 minor importance in county or town. For the court of appeals in the eastern district and for railroad commissioner men received thous ands of votes who were notoriously inefficient. The law itself confesses this defect and admits that the out come is a guess by providing that the names of the candidates alter nates on the printed ballot, thereby eqaulizing the chance, a reflection to say the least if not a direct im peachment of the primary plan as at present in force. To obviate the confusion resulting and to secure as efficient nominees as possible under the circumstances political leaders in various cities and coun ties have resortedi'to the plan of se lecting candidates they deem strongest and best qualified, print ing their names on a separate tick et out among friendly voters to be ratified later in the privacy of the election booth. This is "slate-mak ing" of coarse, "boss rule" if you will, but it is a violent supposition that puts a Sinister motive behind all slates or that affirms boss rule to be all evil. The time will never come when we shall be able to dis pense with honest and intelligent leadership and our main endeavor should be to encourage and devel op it. Manifestly people can not vote intelligently among individuals regarding whom they are not in formed and must of necessity seek the guidance of those supposed to know. The ideal is attractive, but an absolute democracy in this coun try is physically impossible, is cum bersome ana confusing even when restricted to the state, and our safe ty will continue to lie in some broader and more modified form of representative government. The path of reform is in that direction and not through such destroying chao3 and turmoil as have charac terized the last few year? in this cpuntry. Other objections equally as valid being urged against the primary in its present form must also be ad mitted. It calls for the expenditure of vast sums of money by candi dates and such sums imply either that the candidate himself is rich or that the money expended is ob tained from questionable sources with a selfish purpose to serve. In the former case it follows that no poor man. if he be honest, can seek public office, and in the latter tha j privilege, by financing the cam-, paign of this candidate and the ) other can secure a mortgage upon ! their official activities ten times! more effectively than was ever pos- sibel under the convention system j with all the abuses to which it was ; subjected The use of money on 1 so large a scale encourages the ven al voter to renewed activity, spreads corruption on every hand, and viti ates the public press to an extent as yet undreamed of. the primary at the same time giving it power almost absolute and indefinitely more dangerous than that enjoyed by the bosses and politicians under the old system. During the cam paign just closed one candidate, a man whom nine-tenths of the vot ers of the state' were unacquainted with even by reputation and with nothing in particular to recommend save thot he had money, bought space at tegular rates in over a hundred reputable Missouri news papers and the fact that the editors M matter run unsigned and as I n expression of the attitude of! their papers toward the contest! showed a letting down of moral' scruples discouraging to say the; least. Other candidates were im- portuned in every county to pay: money for political exploitation ! through newspapers, some of such j journals being vociferous in their j uplift pretentions, and it can be j seen readily where the tendency I will finally lead and in what venal-! ity it will result. The average vot - j er forms his opinion of public men through the newspapers he reads, does so unconsciously without stop ping to question, and the new pow er that has arisen is one to be watched and guarded, to e interro gated and restricted. The man who edits a newspaper in these days of popular primaries is just as human as the bosses and politicians who j manipulated conventions and his1 itch for money or position may I lead him into the same betrayal of public trust. Being the only avenue through which office-seekers can reach the people, personal contact with a vast majority of voters be ing physically impossible, he is overwhelmed by candidates who want to use his paper to present their claims and must either refuse them all, make his personal selec tions and urge them, or give his columns for hire. The first course leaves the voter uninformed, the second is an intolerable arrogation of power, and the last is venal. The dangers pointed out are actual and not imaginary. In addition the pri mary as every thinking man is bound to know places a premuim on demagoguery and encourages specious appeal Hypocrisy is ar rant and the cry always is prejudice O B PRI N T I N Q The Kind that Pleases The Democrat takes pleasure in giving its customers all that is best in high-class printing. We use nothing but the best material, and our printing is done by workmen who surely know how, which assures you in getting your stationery neatly and tastily arranged, and printed from the latest styles. We are always glad to show sam ples of our printing. If you are thinking of having any work done, don't fail to see us before making your order. We make a specialty of high-class printing of all kinds, including the following: Letter Heads, Bill Heads, Booklets, Catalogues, Envelopes, Note Heads, Statements, Folders, Invitations, Etc., Etc. ADVERTISE IN THE D M O e R A T An Excellent Advertising Medium must be to win. The honest man has little show and the artful man all things to all to all people, he j who carries a bottle of beer in one I hand and a Bible in the other is I more than apt to win. Theoretical- j ly the plan is ideal, but in practical operation dangerously defective at least in its present form.' A look behind the scenes reveals the dis couraging fact that the politician and boss are fully as potential as, in former years, the corporations as tactive, the deception even more bold. The law should be amended in one of two directions. Either the governor should be chosen by direct vote, empowered to appoint all administrative subordinates from attorney general down, and held accountable for them, elimi nating the long ballot, or a delegate primary should be held, each pre cinct naming by popular vote the best informed and most trustworthy of citizens to act for it in naming a party ticket Either plan is prefer able to the primary as now in force, would prevent confusion and blun dering be less cumbersome, and ob viate the strife and turmoil and bit terness which now paralyze busi ness and enforce suspension practi cally of all other activities.-Mercury. -Paris Care During Thunder Storms. Here are some rules to observe in thunder storms: Never get under trees or stand near lateral branches; even a small part of lightning flash traveling over wet leaves to a person under neath would form a convenient path for lightning's travel to earth. Equally dangerous is it to shelter alongside buildings or close to hay stacks for similar reasons, as rain drops from roofs may lead the flash to one thus standing. Unfinished bouses are another danger source, wet scaffold poles becoming con ductors; many accidents have been so caused. To telegraph poles give wide berth, and never . use the tele phone during a violent storm. Never stand near rain or venti lating pipes. In no circumstances ride or lead bicycles, and the same warning applies to motor cars or ordinary carriages or carts. Um brellas are dangerous held up, also fishing rods and guns. Not that lightning is directly at tracted by these objects, but travel ing to earth, the flash gives out in numerable small discharges which are attacted to metallic projections and the shock which might cause to one's dry clothes minor injuries may prove fatal to one previously rain sodden. Tit-Bits. Her Proposal. ' Miss Ethel Barrymore, apropos of Leap Year, told a story at the Colony Club in New York. "A girl," she said, Hooked calmly at a caller one eveuing and remark ed: " 'George, as it is Leap Year "The caller turned pale. 44 'As it is Leap Year,' she con tinued, 'and you have been calling regularly now four nights a week for a long, long time, .George I pro pose ' " 'I'm not in position to marry on my salary,' George broke in hur riedly. . " 1 know that well, George' the girl, pursued, 'and so, as it is Leap Year, I thought I'd propose that you ay off and give soms of the more eligible boys a chance.'" New York Times. Have the Democrat do that job printing for you.