Over the last few weeks I’ve been stopped several times, both on campus and off, to be asked to sign a petition to get open primaries in our state…which seems a bit like closing the barn door after all the cows have escaped, since my state’s primary was held on February 28th.
The last time this happened I had just had enough. I pointedly asked the women who was carrying the petition to tell me what party she was registered with.
Unsurprisingly, after a bit of prodding, she told me she was a Democrat. I asked her how she would feel about Open Primaries if I, as a Republican, were to gather up Republicans and go to a Democratic primary to vote for the worst Democratic candidate so that the Republican nominee would be able to wipe the floor with him. She told me “well I would be getting people to sign a petition if I didn’t support it.”
Which didn’t actually answer the question, mind you.
As this was a public space another person came up to interject their opinion. He asked me what my solution would be if a Democrat, such as himself, wanted to vote in the primaries for Ron Paul. (Not sure why a Democrat would want to, since 90% of what Ron Paul supports is completely opposite to Democratic views…the only thing I can think that this guy wanted was the legalization of drugs…) I told him to do the same thing that my independent friends had done, which was register as Republicans for the primary and then re-register as their actual party.
He didn’t seem to find that satisfactory…too lazy to go to the trouble I guess.
Here is the key problem with this particular guy’s argument. The Presidential election is the time for the entire country to decide, based on whatever their views are, which nominee will make the best POTUS. That is why you vote across party lines, you can watch the debates, view the records, and decide between the party nominees to decide who will best lead the country.
This is not what primaries are for.
Now, ideally, members of the party should be voting for the candidate who will make the best President. However, Democratic and Republican ideals of what makes a good President are not the same at all, so cross primary voting would be unhelpful at best and disastrous at worst.
What a primary does is allow the members of the party to decide on who, of the available candidates, best represents their ideals and will be the best President possible within those ideals.
So the problem with a Democrat voting in a Republican Primary is that they will not be voting for the candidate that best represents Republican ideals, they will be voting for either 1.) the candidate who best represents Democratic ideals or 2.) the candidate that will be most easily defeated by their Democratic nominee.
And considering that option 2 is exactly what happened this year in the Republican Primaries in several states which have open primaries.
Democratic activists and strategists have launched a campaign to push fellow Democrats and independents to vote for Santorum to try to derail the more moderate frontrunner Mitt Romney, a Michigan native and the candidate President Barack Obama’s campaign least wants to face in the November 6 election.
“I think Santorum is completely radioactive and will bring an electoral disaster to the Republicans – he could deliver Obama a landslide,” said Michigan Democratic strategist Joe DiSano, who has launched one of the efforts to help Santorum. “We need to focus on the one real challenger to Romney.”
Gotta love that sort political trickery. Of course this says a lot about how worried the Democrats are about my candidate of choice, Mitt Romney.
However, this is why closed primaries are necessary. I don’t want to vote in a Democratic primary, I’m not a Democrat and it’s not my job to choose a candidate who upholds their ideals. Neither is it a Democrats job to choose a political candidate who best upholds Republican ideals.