The first coalition was established when two cavemen teamed up to take down a mastodon. Later they may have fought over the tusks, but they both understood the primary goal.

Political parties are coalitions. Both of the large established ones talk about the "big tent" without explaining or often grasping how it should work. European parliamentary systems often construct the coalition after the election. Those like Israel, with proportional representation by party, invite it. Here we build coalitions first, which is the main reason we are still on our original government while France has gone through 11 of them.

This is where that compromise thing everybody babbles about comes in.

All parties have a stated agenda called a "platform." Some even take it seriously. Those platforms or their de facto equivalents are constructed by including or excluding the diverse views of many people and avoiding too many "deal breakers."

There is an ever-increasing gap between the conservatism of Republicans and the leftward slide of Democrats. Independents were once the mushy folks who couldn't decide. Now lots of them find the two parties too mushy and are left or right of them.

Bi-partisanship is a chimera. Harry Truman once said that when someone told him they were "bi-partisan," it meant they were voting against him. There are but a handful of genuine conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans left in office anywhere in the country. Bi-partisanship is now as unworkable as using Ford parts on a Chevy.

The compromise comes from within the two coalitions of interest groups. Some groups like the NRA can play both sides on a single issue with specific pols, but long term they and their members can only survive as part of a multi-issue coalition able to appoint a strict constructionist judiciary.

Voters are now choosing between two coalitions, left and right, and hoping those they elect will keep their word. That part is more likely as enough voters have learned to pay attention and dump those who don't. There are no "safe" constituencies in primaries.

This increases the obligation of partisan candidates to act that way. When they file for office or seek re-election to it, they commit to the rest of the ticket and the party's members to follow the old cowboy adage "ride for the brand." Meaning when you lose a primary, you're committed to support the person who beat you because you want him/her to support you if it goes the other way. It's why hardball personal attacks in primaries should be avoided – you might have to eat them later.

Those two cavemen would understand. The mastodon is the real target.

Some late primary endorsements

I assume most GOP voters have figured out the big ones like U.S. Senate, CD7, CD8 and attorney general. Here's three down ticket I feel strongly about.

LD 26 House — Terri Proud and Vic Williams. Somebody described Wade McLean as a "really, really moderate Republican." We used to call that a "liberal." Enough for me.

State treasurer — Barbara Leff understands the office and has a record of reasonable, conservative service in the state legislature. Doug Ducey not only over-acts about the role of the office, he has a tax problem almost large enough to qualify him for an Obama cabinet appointment. Thayer Verschoor is a good man but barely visible. Ted Carpenter is invisible. Leff is right.

Corporation commission — Vote for two. Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce, both steady conservatives. Barry Wong tried the grossest pander of this election cycle by claming he would cut electric service to illegals. He was also once appointed to the job by Governor Janet and blown out later. Both are reason enough to vote Burns and Pierce.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

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