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.]