February 28th, 2012

Primaries today

Today Arizona and Michigan hold their primaries. The Arizona one has gotten so little press that it’s hard to remember it’s happening, but the lack of attention is probably because the consensus is that Romney will win there, and if so his win will be written off as reflective of the Mormon presence, which amounts to about 10% of Republican Arizona voters.

But Michigan—ah, Michigan’s a different story. This close event has been super-hyped already, and the results are bound to be spun so much it will be dizzying. I’ve already written what I think about the “Romney is the favorite son and must win” echo chamber. I also am astounded at the fact that Michigan is a completely open primary in which Democrats are free to cross over and join in the fun.

In fact, there’s a Democratic effort to encourage people to do just that:

Michigan Democratic strategist Joe DiSano has taken it upon himself to become a leading mischief maker.

DiSano says he targeted nearly 50,000 Democratic voters in Michigan through email and a robo call to their homes, asking them to go to the polls Tuesday to vote for Rick Santorum in attempt to hurt Romney.

“Democrats can get in there and cause havoc for Romney all the way to the Republican convention,” DiSano told CNN…

DiSano says over the last 7 days or so that he has been working on this, he has gotten some 12,000 commitments from Democratic voters to go to the polls and vote for Santorum.

And it’s not just Democrats who are encouraging Democrats to vote for Santorum, it’s the Santorum campaign, too.

And meanwhile, polls everywhere show Obama’s stock rising. His natural advantage as an incumbent has combined with some improvement in the economic news and the unpleasant spectacle of Republicans trashing each other to give him an advantage—for now, anyway—in the polls.

[ADDENDUM: I can't understand open primaries. I think they're a bad idea for either party, and I'd like to see them eliminated. They're just an opportunity for mischief; why should opponents be given the chance to choose their antagonists? It makes no sense to me.

In fact, I take it a step further: I think even Independents shouldn't be able to vote in primaries. If people removed that possibility, it would certainly reduce the number of Independents and increase party enrollment, wouldn't it? Not that that's my goal.

And of course, people could still switch their affiliations if done somewhat ahead of time, so it would still be possible to play a few games with the primaries. But it wouldn't be as easy. The potential problem with crossover only tends to become really bad, though, when one side has a hotly contested race and the other doesn't.

Like, for instance, this year.]

41 Responses to “Primaries today”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz……. wake me when it’s over.

  2. Curtis Says:

    I’m not falling for that BS that democrats are voting for Santorum because they hope he wins because he would be so much easier to defeat than Romney. This is a feint within a feint.

    The support for Santorum is broad and much stronger than for Romney and if the pollsters had less effect upon who people vote for, Romney would not have a chance. Anybody read about the White House polling connection? I’ll have to find that article but it’s a doozy. Anyway, the lie is that we have to settle for Romney. The lie is that Romney is more electable. The lie is that people are so afraid of Santorum’s social conservatism that he will tear down the whole party. These lies are propagated by our own Republican establishment whose go along to get along era is over.

  3. JimG33 Says:

    I seem to remember that this open primary foolishness was one of those ideas to get as many people to vote as possible. As with most of those ideas, like getting money out of politics, it only results in cheapening the vote. It should be hard to vote, therefore only those that take electoral politics seriously will go out of their way to do it.

  4. foxmarks Says:

    I guess, since I despise political parties, we’ll never agree on open primaries. It seems silly to me to have wear a particular jersey or know the right password to be able to participate in selecting a candidate.

    If there’s any parallel to my community organizer experience, closed primaries lead to more insular parties. Those who go to all the weekly and monthly meetings serve up pre-made choices for those who only turn out on voting days.

    I can see the thinking that suggests closed systems lead to increased participation. I haven’t seen it work that way in practice. Even beyond the natural human tribal tendencies of the regular insiders to resist newcomers, there is a lot of boring business and background information in an organization. Even if an insider member wants to be welcoming, the new guy’s lack of background tends to be an alienating factor.

    I guess depend on the relative importance of participation vs. purity.

  5. expat Says:

    foxmarks,
    All you have to do is register for a party. It’s not as if you have to attend backroom meetings or, as in Germany, pay a party membership fee. And anyone who wants to run can throw in his hat and try to convince party regulars that he is worth supporting. I think it’s less a question of participation vs. purity as participation vs. some knowledge of real-life issues. We had some pretty bad candidates this year who were favored by the ideologically pure.

  6. Curtis Says:

    I think we should disenfranchise the voters and allow only people who paid taxes to vote.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    foxmarks: I couldn’t care less about “purity.” I think everyone of the right age, etc., should be allowed to vote in general elections, of course, regardless of party affiliation.

    But primaries are designed for a PARTY to select its candidate. Only members of the party should have a say in that. And any voter can join a party; parties are not closed. Plus, people can change parties, if done ahead of time.

    If you want someone else to run, another party can nominate them, or you can write them in in the general election. But having members of the opposing party vote in their opponents’ primary perverts the meaning of a primary, and allows people who are opposed to that party’s aims to wreak havoc with the party’s intentions. And I don’t care what party that is—it can be a third or even fourth party, for all I care. It’s about the purpose of a party’s primaries.

  8. foxmarks Says:

    expat and neo: You offer the standard counterpoints. My experience (knowledge of real-life issues ;-) ) has shown that there are few minds more closed than those who populate the smallest level of political organizations. The notion that some newcomer could come in and be heard fairly is pure fantasy.

    We all know that viable 3rd parties are a vanishing rarity in the U.S. To suggest that I should go where the environment is hospitable instead of where the power lies is about the same as telling me to go sit at the kids’ table.

    For those reading along who are now thinking, “yeah, foxmarks, you should sit at the kids’ table,” you make my point about closed minds and tribal politics.

  9. Curtis Says:

    I’ve been searching for an hour now and can’t find that damned article which shows the White House had hired a front organization which had a connection which was producing polls by including an inordinate amount of Democrats in their polling. I wouldn’t doubt the article had been panned and scrubbed as much as possible. Did anybody read the article yesterday?

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    foxmarks: you’re making no sense. Register as a Republican is you want to vote in their primary. No one’s stopping you from doing anything.

  11. Parker Says:

    Participation in a primary election should be restricted to registered party members. Otherwise registering as a member of a particular party is meaningless. I do favor allowing voters to switch party registration provided it is done 90 days prior to the primary. In Iowa we allow same day registration which I am strongly against.

  12. Parker Says:

    “We all know that viable 3rd parties are a vanishing rarity in the U.S.”

    foxmarks,

    Can you explain how allowing everyone into a given party’s primary will make a 3rd, 4th, or 5th party more viable? Just curious.

  13. foxmarks Says:

    neo: I know I can vote in whichever primary as long as say the proper incantation. I have voted on both sides, as tactics indicate. If it is so easy to switch, why bother with the extra step? Party registration is almost meaningless as it stands.

    I think I am not making sense to you because I’m looking at the entire party system, not just the single act of casting a primary ballot.

    Let’s say I have a preferred Presidential candidate running under one party and a preferred State legislative candidate running under a different party. The current system makes me ignore half my preferences. Even in “open primary” States, I believe one is limited to a single party’s ballot. The party system is engineered to force loyalty, where I think we should put policy and candidates above party allegiance.

  14. foxmarks Says:

    Parker: It won’t. The structure of representation is very strongly biased toward a 2-party system. But by participating in meetings and casting an primary ballot in one of the two parties, I get to influence power toward my preferences. To me, parties are an obstacle to fair representation.

    Parties are a corrupting influence in the same class as labor unions and corporations.

  15. Commenter formerly know as roc scssrs Says:

    My experience of party organizations has been as far from “closed” or “tribal” as could be imagined. I once volunteered for a local campaign and within a month they were asking me to run for party precinct captain (and not because of my fantastic political skills). Most party work is tedious and after-hours so many positions go unfilled. That’s how the Tea Party has been influential, by filling mundane party positions, not by forming a new party.

  16. MissJean Says:

    Neo, I posted a comment last week on an older post, but maybe you didn’t see it. Michigan doesn’t have an open primary the way you think of it. It’s still a partisan primary. You have to report your name and the fact you voted for that particular primary ballot. Your name, address, etc. are all a matter of record and you’ll be haunted by political robo-calls for years to come. :)

    Despite the hype, I think DiSano is talking out of his hat. He threw his “cross-over campaign” together, and it shows. To put it in a nutshell: I get shellacked with union e-mails and phonecalls from the DMC, but I haven’t gotten any robocalls about this. (I have, however, received 57 calls since three weeks ago!) I asked at my (union) workplace this afternoon. We found out read about this supposed “raid” in our local paper. No one is voting in this primary (except me) because they’re Democrats and will be voting in May.

    Frankly, I think DiSano (and others) can see the way the wind’s blowing and would like to take credit for Santorum votes because the truth is scary. The MI Tea Partiers and Pro-Lifers have been beating the Santorum drum for months now (not to mention Rush Limbaugh’s recent appeal to Dittoheads). Heaven forbid a Santorum win makes people think that conservatives have voting block power!

    Also, Michigan has never had a successful raid. Despite high turnouts – in the 2002 primaries more than 27% of registered voters participated and it’s gone up until the last presidential primaries which most people stayed home for – we’ve never had a Tuttle moment, if you know what I mean. There’s a good (if old) commentary here on Markos Zuniga’s dreams of raiding making a difference in the 2008 primary:
    http://soundpolitics.com/public/2008/01/democrat_raid_of_gop_primary_i_1.html

    I have to tell you that our system came out of a really great idea: people shouldn’t have to face discrimination based on political affiliation. By not having to register with a party, it prevented Democrats (and before them the American Party aka No-Nothings) from interfering in voting in my great-grandfather’s day (although he himself had to wait several years to vote, since there was a difficult test for citizenship). In the ’20s, it kept the KKK from knowing the exact numbers of their opposition when they attempted to take several public offices. I don’t know how it works in other states, but lots of Michiganians are afraid to let their political affiliation be known. I myself witnessed two co-workers screaming obscenities at the only known Republican after Bush was re-elected. In contrast, excusing myself from volunteering for the Obama re-election campaign this fall was relatively easy when my co-workers assume I vote like them.

  17. Curtis Says:

    Still haven’t found that article on the white house and its use of a polling company to provide distorted polls to influence voters, but here’s a gem:’

    An Associated Press-GfK poll suggests women also are giving the president more credit than men are for the country’s economic turnaround.

  18. expat Says:

    OT: I just saw over at the Corner that Olympia Snow is not running for re-election.

  19. Dan Rees Says:

    I am a conservative independent. My mother was a life-long Republican, but she also believed that you should look more at the policies of a candidate than at his/her label. (I reference only my mother, because my father was not a US citizen.) I prefer to go without any formal party labels of my own as an indication of my stance that I will vote for the best candidate (in my opinion) regardless of what party that candidate belongs to. I would strongly resent it if Missouri (where the primaries are open) would start shutting me out of the process of choosing the candidates in the party that most closely reflects my values unless I “sign up” in some formal way.

  20. maryQ Says:

    Hello, Neo. I happen to agree with you about the questionable wisdom of open primaries, and agree that cross-over voting should be not impossible but also not easy. However, Curtis argues that some Dems may be voting for Santorum for less sinister reasons. I think that is entirely possible, though Curtis probably overstates, by a lot, Santorum’s strength. When I was living in TX, I voted in the GOP gubernatorial primary (I’m a registered Dem) so that I could vote for Kay Baily Hutchison because I wanted her, not Perry, to run against Bill White. I was a huge Bill White supporter and really wanted him to win. I did not vote for KBH because I thought she would have been easier to beat-in fact the polling showed that she would have been a strong general election candidate. But I thought that she would be a more worthy opponent than Perry, and a better governor than Perry. As it as Perry won easily, but he refused to debate Bill White (now we know why).

    Also, it seems that Romney’s people in MI pushed for an open primary because they thought it would help Romney.So Romney now complaining about it is, well, not very presidential.

  21. Curtis Says:

    One thing Neo was absolutely right about: All this makes no difference in the general election because it will be decided by the puff of air generated by nondescript butterfly wings in Australia.

    MaryQ, how are you? I don’t think I overstated Santorum’s strength? Haven’t you heard? God is on his side.

    He can’t lose!

    (This message brung you by hillbillies for Christ.)

  22. Curtis Says:

    I just read Sharron Angle’s “Positions” at Wikipedia. Loved them all and you know I am absolutely convinced the Republican establishment cost us that election. They are so anti tea party that they would rather Harry Reid have the election. All this nonsense of how unelectable Santorum is and all the corrupt polls to get us to shut up and go away isn’t going to work.

    Not gonna happen this time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharron_Angle

  23. Mr. Frank Says:

    Santorum is right up there with Sharon Angle and the woman from Delaware. In both states the “establishment” Republican would have won.

  24. foxmarks Says:

    roc scssrs: That’s good news.

    I suppose my experience is colored by the Dem/Prog/Green area I live in. I am currently infiltrating the local GOP. TEA-sounding people like me may finally be a force, but I am told the State GOP is against us. And when I worked on a GOP gubernatorial campaign a few years back, we ran into the same “entrenched power” obstacle. Backers of my candidate were blocked from the convention.

  25. Curtis Says:

    Mr. Frank, in both states the establishment Republican candidate did win.

  26. Mr. Frank Says:

    Curtis. In Nevada and Delaware the Democrat won over a Republican that beat a moderate Republican in the primary. Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle got hammered in the general election.

  27. Curtis Says:

    O’Donnel got hammered, Angle not so much (4 points, I believe. Both candidates, who knows if they would have won with full help from the evil establishmente sniffing noses like Karl the Rove.)

    I meant the statement, however, sarcastically as in the Republican establishment candidates were the Democratic candidates. That’s how corrupt some of our Republicans are.

  28. rickl Says:

    Apparently people like Karl Rove are exempt from having to “hold their nose” and support a candidate they don’t like, such as Christine O’Donnell.

    It’s only conservatives who are expected to do that.

    I strongly suspect that this is why Sarah Palin chose not to run. She was probably told in no uncertain terms that the Republican establishment and their hired pundits would not support her; indeed, would actively work against her.

  29. Curtis Says:

    5.7 points, actually, is what Angle lost by. And she did make some mistakes which might have been spared her if the knowledge and advice of the RNC had been hers.

  30. rickl Says:

    To reiterate: Rove absolutely trashed O’Donnell on live TV on the very night of her primary victory.

    And it’s somehow her fault she lost the general election?

  31. Curtis Says:

    Right, Angle just wasn’t as smart as Rove. She had that problem of being just and ordinary nobody with character.

  32. Parker Says:

    In many ways I agree with foxmarks and rickl. The 2 main parties are definitely ucked fup. The GOP at times seems suicidal to me and its ‘country club’ establishment is completely untrustworthy. I wish a Palin/Cain ticket was strutting out onto the battlefield to take on little Barry, sad sack Joe, and the MSM.

    As Dusty said, wishing and hoping is in vain.

    http://tinyurl.com/db5v24

  33. rickl Says:

    Thanks, Parker. As I’ve advocated for probably a year or more, a Palin/West ticket would be unbeatable right now.

  34. rickl Says:

    Think about it. All the people who are depressed, dejected, despondent, resigned to voting for ABO, praying for SMOD, or just wanting to tune it all out…

    If Palin/West were running, almost all of these people would be stoked beyond belief, and would be ready, willing, and eager to take on Obama.

  35. foxmarks Says:

    I could go Cain/West, too. Or Palin/Bachmann.

    Not only do all those combos energize everybody (except Rove), they make my Prog neighbors apoplectic. Dreaming is fun…

    I wonder if SMOD or Cthulhu have a party endorsement?

  36. Mr. Frank Says:

    Too many conservatives are victims of the disease that has afflicted the Irish and Scots for centuries and more recently the Confederacy — the love of the honor and glory associated with fighting for the lost cause. Running a Palin or West would be Goldwater all over again. Ditto for Gingrich or Santorum. The media would destroy them. They have already done in Palin.

  37. Curtis Says:

    It wasn’t, sadly, the media which did in Palin, but the media/Republican establishment coaltion which did. And it’s very hard for those of us who believe that to accept the “new cause.”

    Call it a disease if you will, understandable from a go along to get along position, but also know that Goldwater set the foundation for Reagan.

    Here’s the consolation prize if Obama gets elected: It may be the only way this country learns how special are its institutions and values.

    An analogy. Without the revolutionary war educating our founding fathers of the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation, there would have been no Declaration of Independence and no Constitution. We need a crisis of the first order to restore sanity. Obama, you can be sure, will bring that.

  38. Curtis Says:

    Before I get corrected:

    Declaration of Independence, of course, preceded the ratification of the Articles of Confederation.

  39. Bester Sexratgeber Says:

    Bester Sexratgeber…

    [...]neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Primaries today[...]…

  40. Parker Says:

    “It wasn’t, sadly, the media which did in Palin, but the media/Republican establishment coaltion which did.”

    Newt has at least one thing right: attack the media before the media attacks you. If the Rovians had come to Palin’s defence it is possible she could have carried the ticket to victory in 2008 or at least kept the margin of defeat within 1 or 2% which would have made her a viable candidate in 2012. But she did not fit the Rovian mold so she was left twisting in the wind.

  41. Parker Says:

    “Too many conservatives are victims of the disease that has afflicted the Irish and Scots for centuries”

    My paternal ancestors were Scots. I learned from my great grandfather that they fled from Scotland to Ireland and later fled Ireland to settle in the New World to get away from Englihmen. I asked what wars they fought in America and clear as a bell I can remember him saying they fought in the Revolutionary War because it was a chance to kill Englishmen and they fought (as I well knew) in WWII because it was necessary.

    I won’t fight for RINOs although I will vote for one if that is my only choice. Give me a true champion and I will fight with all my humble might.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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