Monday, January 21, 2008

Entirely The Wrong Idea

The author of this LA Times article seems to think there's a problem with the California Republican Party's only wanting Republicans to choose who will represent the party in the general election.

No one's being denied the "right" to vote in the Republican primary--register as a Republican, and you can vote for any Republican on the ballot. So what if the Democrats allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primary? Why would you want someone from outside of your party choosing your party's candidate? I see too much opportunity for trouble there, and entirely support closed primaries.


Eric W. said...

With open primaries, there's the potential of a bunch of people deciding "Hey, let's go vote in the other guys' elections and make sure the worst candidate wins" in order to guarantee their party's success in the general election.

Darren said...

Exactly what I was thinking when I wrote the last sentence of the post.

Mrs. C said...

Eric, in my state they just ask you at the polling place what ballot you want. I usually say Democrat and vote for the biggest loser. I'm not doing that this time because the race is just *too* close and one of those losers might win the presidency LOL!

I'd be ok with closed primaries as well but I do like choosing which party to vote in at the last minute. :] The Democratic take in the article was that an independent having a say in the Democratic primary would be more likely to vote Democrat in the actual election. (I'm not sure if that's true or not, but an interesting idea!)

Ellen K said...

I wonder if they would mind if you hopped over and voted for some minor candidate in the Democrat primary. It's a stupid system. And I am willing to bet there was a great deal of 'crossing over' in SC, because the MSM seems intent on having McCain as the anointed candidate for the Republicans.

Babbie said...

If you are truly an independent, why would you WANT to vote in the Republican primary? Illogical.

allen said...

I'm not particularly concerned with cross over voting. It's one of those things a lot of people talk about but I think far fewer do. There are probably exceptions but in my district it's never been a problem and Republicans are an endangered specie here.

The article strikes me as just a bit of spew from a journalistic deep thinker who's unclear on the concept of a primary election. There's a fairly obvious bias as well in the intimation that the decision to go to a closed primary is evidence of anything other then an attempt to pick the candidate most representative of Republican party members.

The bias also shows up in the, seemingly, inevitable decision to go with a Democratic candidate in the general election just because the voter's denied the option of voting for a Republican in the primary.

And in case there's any doubt about the reporter's party affiliation, there's the closing 'graph:

"I am so sick of the Republican Party and so disgusted with the things they have done over the past eight years that I am ready for a change," he (part-time tax preparer John Ridpath) said.

Donalbain said...

I think that the whole system you guys over the Pond have is very weird. While I understand the idea of each party deciding who represents them on the Big Day, what I don't understand is why the government is so heavily involved.

Darren said...

The degree of government involvement changes by state. Here in California, for example, we will be voting on a handful of initiatives in addition to our party's candidate for President.

I agree, though--let the parties do it themselves.

DADvocate said...

In Tennessee and Ohio, both in which I've voted, you vote in which ever primary you choose, no matter your registration. The crossover, vote for the loser guys don't occur in large enough numbers to matter.

I plan to vote for Oboma in the Democratic primary this year but will not vote for any Democrat in the general election. This will be the first time I've ever done this. But I'm doing it to stop Clinton more than vote for a loser. It's as simple as ABC, Anybody But Clinton.

Dr Pezz said...

Washington State forces voters to declare during the primaries before voting for that party only. Seems to work well.

Donalbain said...

We are having problems in the UK with funding of political parties. The parties themselves seem to want more state funding, which I think is a truly, truly horrible idea. A political party is a private organisation and the government should not help them out at all.

KauaiMark said...

The Liberal/Conservative views as illustrated by:

Hillary .vs. the late economist Milton Friedman

Let all hope that anyone other than another Clinton wins

Superdestroyer said...

It there anything more irrelevant than the Republican Party in California. The best they can hope for is holding on to the offices they have now. However, demographic changes in California ensure that the Republican Party will keep getting smaller and able to compete in fewer races.

If you want to make the government in California more moderate, the Republican Party would just disband and all of the moderates/conservatives start voting in the Democratic primary.

allen said...

Sorry supe, you've got it exactly backwards.

The reason the Cali Repubs are in the toilet is in no small part because the party is in the control of Democrats-lite.

The RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) aren't ready to give up a lick of power any more then any other politician and the more conservative elements of the party haven't figured out how to wrest control from them. What the party's awaiting is a conservative of sufficient political skill to do just that and then there'll be something to get enthusiastic about.

The good news for California RINOs and lefties is people like that don't grow on trees. The bad news is that the longer the constituency is ignored the more time the Democratic legislature has to remind Californians what a lousy record the Democratic party has.

Donal, from what I understand of the parliamentary system (an afternoon's discussion with a Canadian relative who's involved in politics and some Wikipedia-reading) you guys vote much more for the party then the candidate. A bit ironic since the Pizza-with-no-anchovies party is as viable as any other if not as large and just as able to win an election. Failure to follow the party line means the representative can get the boot so party discipline is a very real thing, at least in Canada.

In the U.S. we vote for the candidate much more then for the party. Party discipline is hardly more then a phrase since there's a great deal of difficulty in its enforcement. This results in incumbent members of each party that would be ideologically much more comfortable in the other party. But the party in the majority enjoys considerable advantage in the legislature so there's a strong incentive to put up with ideological impurity in incumbents. Besides, there's not all that much the party could do about renegades any way.

rightwingprof said...

Indiana has no party registration, so you tell them at the polls which ballot you want. Crossover voting happens but from the results, not enough to affect the elections.

Superdestroyer said...


The total number of whites in California is going down and the percentage of the population that is white is shrinking. Since Republicans draw all of their support from white voters, there is no reason to believe that the Republican party can remain viable in California.

bbeeman said...

It seems to me that as a matter of principle the members of a party should select its nominees. It may well be that in some (or many) parts of the country that this whole thing is really not of much practical significance, but I was raised in the St. Louis area, where crossover "loading" of the Republican primaries was openly encouraged to attempt to select weak Republican candidates to guarantee the dominance of the Democrat machine.

And even if it is of small practical significance, how about we operate on principle. That would be a refreshing concept.

allen said...

Sorry supe but there's nothing characteristically Caucasian about Republican party membership. As the identity politics so assiduously practiced by Democrats loses it's grip the values of the electorate will take hold.

While you're fixated on skin color I'm looking at church attendance and personal values. Yeah, you can trump personal values by waving handfuls of cash under people's noses in the form of welfare and affirmative action as the Democrats have successfully done but at a certain point the price of the largess becomes impossible to ignore. One issue in which the declining value of identity politics has already shown up is in welfare reform. There are other as yet to be exploited issues of a similar nature.

Another example of an unexploited issue, the percentage of black voters supportive of educational alternatives like vouchers and charter schools is in the sixty to seventy percent range. If the Repubs had some sense they'd be hitting black community organizations talking the issue up, making it their own. Yet the degree of effort expended is nowhere near great as it ought to be to achieve a political goal like splitting the black vote.

The Hispanic vote is similarly vulnerable.

But it takes a politician who's smart enough to see the possibilities. Too bad pioneers have such a notoriously short life span.

Fortunately though time is on the side of political conservatives as the populace, both domestically and internationally, turns away from the attractive failure of left-wing politics.