There’s a presidential primary in Missouri today, but it won’t matter — unless you count the $7 million taxpayer dollars that are being wasted to print the ballots, open the polls, and count the votes. Why won’t it matter? Because the primary is too early for party rules, so no delegates will be apportioned from it. The real vote will take place in caucuses on March 17th.

Here’s how you know today’s election doesn’t matter — none of the presidential candidates has been buying commercial time on radio and television. Not even the SuperPACs are interested. I wish Stephen Colbert had run here, as he could have swept the state by simply buying a few ads, easily outdoing the competition.

Rick Santorum’s the only one who’s even bothered to visit Missouri (if he wins, expect him to start saying he has momentum, despite the empty nature of the claim). Newt Gingrich isn’t even on the ballot, though Romney and Paul are, but you can still vote for Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or Jon Huntsman. They may be out of the race, but why not? It doesn’t count!

Can you imagine any other business allowing this seven-million-dollar boondoggle, in a state that’s cutting essential services because it’s beyond broke? Unfortunately, we’re not alone in this squandering of public funds. Colorado and Minnesota are also having non-binding elections today. Their delegates will be apportioned by local conventions at another time.

The lesson from today should resonate later this year, when we have a real election day, and Missourians can send a message by voting out the legislators who thought the expense of today’s primary was a good enough idea to support in Jefferson City.

Updated 10:08pm…
Santorum looks like the overwhelming winner in Missouri and, as I predicted, the pundits are talking about how important this is for him and how it will draw new support and, most importantly, cash will begin to flow into his campaign. Do none of these people understand the dynamic of this non-event? Giving money to the winner of a non-binding primary is like buying World Series tickets because your team won a spring training game.