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No doubt there are some people who think political parties belong in the category of newspapers, anachronistic institutions whose time has come and gone.

We’ll get our news from the Internet, thank you. Or, who needs a two-party system in Harford County where everybody votes Republican anyway?

As to the first, a good portion of the news you’re getting on the Internet is generated by newspaper people — or former newspaper people — digital delivery versus paper and ink notwithstanding. As for needing more than one party, we suppose it depends on your perspective. There’s only one party in China, or at least one party that matters. Used to be that way in Russia, too, but that didn’t exactly work out.

The Republican party in Harford County has done an excellent job over the past 30 years when it comes to attracting voters — especially younger ones, garnering financial support and building a base of viable candidates for local offices. Whatever the reasons, and we think there are many, Democrats haven’t done nearly as well, and are slipping precipitously toward being irrelevant.

To be sure, some of the reasons for the disparity in the two major parties locally are generational and ideological. Even with those differences, however, much of the Democratic party’s woes in Harford have been self-inflicted by the party’s leaders or lack thereof. How else do you explain being able to still maintain a slight registration advantage over your rival and yet be unable to field candidates for half of the offices on this year’s ballot?

For those with short memories, or too young to know, in the election of 1974, which immediately followed the Nixon-Watergate debacle at the national level, not one Republican was able to win a local office in Harford County government or one of the county’s seats in the legislature. There were some who thought the Republicans were dead in Harford, but the people who ran the Harford GOP didn’t despair. They still filled most of the slots on the ballot in subsequent elections and four years later were on the way back, albeit slowly at first.

Hard to believe, perhaps, but there was actually a time when voting in the Republican primary in Harford meant next to nothing, as will largely be the case with the Democrats’ primary this year. But if you aren’t going to play the game in the first place, how are you ever going to have a chance to win? Unless, of course, the Chinese system of political — and information — control appeals to you, in which case you can just wring your hands, hide and let the Party dictate to you.

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