Cutting it On Closed Primaries

Look, Bernie Sanders did better than I thought he would do. He did better than almost everyone thought he  would do, and I give him a lot of credit. That said, I’m a bit skeptical of the whole “revolution” thing, in part because I saw a lot of screaming, but little political knowledge or commitment, and also because there wasn’t much that was in any way “revolutionary” about anything he was saying. On the contrary,  he was repeating the same memes that PUBs and the professional left have been repeating since about 1968. He did win 22 primaries (which means Hillary won 35 – ahem), but all but a handful of those he won were caucuses, which are not a true gauge of populism since most voters are frozen out of those.

As I posted previously, the demands made by the Sanders “revolutionaries” are a bit galling on many levels, but none of their demands is more puzzling than their call for an end to closed primaries.

The fact that they’re asking the Democratic Party to end them is a clue that their please ring hollow. The fact is, the Party has no say. For that matter, all of the constant complaints about voting problems aimed at the DNC are also misguided. The Democratic Party doesn’t run primary elections. Ironically, the Party does have a greater hand in caucuses and how they’re conducted, but Bernie Stans don’t seem to be complaining about those. (Wonder why?) But when it comes to voting issues, it’s up to the states.

If a primary is closed, it’s because the state decided to close it. It’s not a secret plot by the DNC to kneecap an independent candidate who decides to run for the Democratic nomination. It isn’t because Debbie Wasserman Schultz decided to stick it to Bernie. It is because a state has decided that, since the nomination process for each party should be up to them, the law shouldn’t make it more possible for outsiders to create shenanigans and mess with the process. Therefore, if the Sanders people really want to open up primaries, going to the convention and demanding an end to closed primaries at the upcoming convention might be a great stunt, but it will be meaningless.

Closed primaries are a good thing. The choice of a nominee by a political party should be made by the people in that party. If I were king of the world, all primaries would be completely closed. I don’t think Republicans and Independents should be able to swing a Democratic primary to someone they think they can beat. And no, I don’t feel sorry for you if you choose to register as an independent in a closed primary state and can’t vote for the Democrat; you are told exactly what when you register.  Every closed primary state informs all registrants that they can’t vote in a party primary.

If you want to influence who wins the Democratic nomination, you have to know and understand the rules and register in a way that allows you to participate. It’s not everyone else’s problem if you don’t understand and follow the rules. If you have a valid reason for disagreeing with the closed primary rules, then do what you have to do to change the law in your state. But disrupting the Democratic Primary and demand a change that they can’t make simply won’t have an effect.

Understand, I am not the only one who likes closed primaries; most people in both parties think it’s the best way to go, so don’t be surprised if a majority of people disagree with you. Remember Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” from a few years back? Do you really want that to become the norm? Do you really want Republicans choosing the Democratic nominee?

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  1. I think a workable system would be what we have here in California where independents can ask for a Democratic ballot but not Republicans.

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