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Virginia Democrats shouldn’t vote in GOP primaries.

There will be a GOP presidential primary – of a sort – in Virginia on March 6, 2012, offering a choice between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.   President Obama was the only candidate who filed for the Democratic primary, so it is cancelled and he wins all the delegates.  On June 12, 2012, both parties will choose their Senate candidates by primary.   It wouldn’t surprise me if Tim Kaine was the only Democratic candidate to file properly (and thus he would be the nominee and the Democratic primary would again be cancelled).  The GOP looks like it will have a Senate primary with George Allen and Bob Marshall.  Democrats shouldn’t vote in either (or any) GOP primary.

One caveat – there may be the rare time when people actually think a GOP candidate is worth voting for (McCain in 2000, some would say) – but mostly Democrats think that they want to vote for the “weaker” GOP candidate.   Don’t bother.  Here’s why:

  1. It’s wrong.   Democrats should be able to choose their candidates without malevolent interference from the other party and so should Republicans.   Do you know what kind of people try to mess up other people’s primaries?   Rush Limbaugh launched “Operation Chaos” in 2008 to get Republicans to vote for the weaker Democrat (whoever that ws supposed to be) and George Allen voted for Henry Howell for Virginia Governor in 1977 because he thought Howell was a weaker candidate than Andy Miller.  Don’t be like Rush and George Allen.
  2. If you vote in the GOP primary, you may be challenged when you want to participate in Democratic Party processes.   Specifically, to participate in the Democratic Party delegate selection process for 2012, you have to pledge that you haven’t participated in any other party’s process.  You may not be able to vote for (and certainly not run for) national convention delegates if you vote with the GOP.
  3. You might regret helping nominate the person you voted for.   Okay, that’s probably not a big issue this year because Ron Paul has zero chance of actually being the GOP nominee, but in general, the candidate that you might think is weaker, might not be come November.  I will never forget smart Democrats welcoming the GOP nomination of Ronald Reagan because he was too right wing to be elected.   Didn’t turn out that way.
  4. On the other hand, what if enough Democrats vote for Paul so that Romney gets derailed, and someone else – Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush – steps in and that person is a stronger GOP candidate than Romney?  You can’t predict whether your vote will ultimately help or hurt the Democrats.
  5. Voting in the GOP primary doesn’t advance the Democratic Party’s goal of winning the election.  Barack Obama doesn’t need to face a “weaker” GOP candidate or a more disorganized GOP  (the GOP is screwing themselves up just fine).  If President Obama gets out his message and we get out his vote, we win.  I don’t care who they nominate.  The idea that we need to mess with their process seems like an admission of weakness on our part.
  6. You could be challenged at the polling place – the Va Code provisions apply to primaries and a GOP activist could insist that you can’t vote.  Then you could vote provisionally and explain to the electoral board during the canvass that you should be allowed to vote in the GOP primary.  Do you really want to do that?
  7. It’s a pain in the neck for your local hard-working, underpaid election officials.  The GOP called for and then took back the pledge requirement  (which shouldn’t be up to the electoral workers to enforce at all – that’s one reason why the pledge is wrong and perhaps illegal), but dealing with known Democrats trying to vote in the GOP primary will just make their jobs tougher.
  8. We want Republicans to stay out of our primary – Democrats are incensed when Republican voters cross over to mess up our primary – and appropriately so.  We lose our right to complain when we try to mess up theirs.
  9. It’s a waste of time.  You should be out working to elect Democrats, not messing with Republicans.   Register a voter, go door to door on your block, or write a check instead.


8 thoughts on “Virginia Democrats shouldn’t vote in GOP primaries.”

  1. Charles E Miller, Jr.

    Dear DemRulz,

    I do respect your response to my statement. I consider myself a Truman/Howell Democrat; however, I would have voted for Linwood Holton, a progressive Republican, had I been old enough in 1969 when I was thirteen years old. I am now nearly sixty and it is odd to see a Nixonian Republican now supporting Democrats(Linwood). I do miss Henry Howell. I felt he would have been a good governor. I will vote for Obama since there is no true Rockefeller Republicans running for president. We do not need a Reagan Conservative; we need the liberal Democrat Ronald Reagan of 1948 who supported Truman for president and Mayor Hubert Humphrey for his first term to the US Senate. The economy is bad; however, I blame George W. Bush for this fiasco. I hope we can be poltical friends.

  2. I know we don’t register by party, but I am a Democrat. By the way, here’s a Jefferson qoute on parties: “In every free and deliberating society, there must, from the nature of man, be opposite parties, and violent dissensions and discords; and one of these, for the most part, must prevail over the other for a longer or shorter time.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798. thanks for your comment.

  3. Charles E Miller, Jr.

    I must disagree with the writer of this article. All Virginians, Republicans and Democrats, can vote in either primary as long as one does NOT try to vote in both during the same election. Some elections I have voted Republican and some I have voted Democratic. I am not trying to ruin either party; on the contrary, I am voting for the candidate I like whether Democrat or Republican. Virginians are not registered as Democrats or Republicans as they are in North Carolina. We in Virginia are all Independents and can select either party primary we choose. This is based on the philosophy of Virginians Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who did not believe in political parties. Please read your history!

  4. I absolutely and totally disagree with Frank Leone. Republicans have never supported party purity and yet they get insensed at us voting in their primary. All Democrats should cross over and show them that they aren’t they only ones who can violate the purity of a primary. I have every time Democrats don’t have a primary, and now I get calls from the rightwingers EVEN ASKING ME TO BE A DELEGATE AT THEIR CONVENTION. I tell them to send me mail on the subject, so they will waste their money. I would rather have Ron Paul nominated against President Obama than any of the other stooges. We can all come up with reasons of our own why someone else should follow us like sheep, but Leone can’t be serious about most of his points. Yes, the primaries should be pure, but Republicans will never support it, so to hell with them… I’ll crash their primary line every time that we don’t have one and vote for their weakest candidate. At this point in the process, no one else will jump into the Republican comedy, so let them hack each other apart, AND USE MY HATCHET.

  5. Disruption is a perfectly valid political statement. I can be an active Democratic organizer and haymaker, and still confuse and annoy the opposition. Those two aren’t mutually exclusive.

  6. One would-be delegate to our state convention looked at the pledge on the filing form and said to me, “I already voted absentee in the Republican primary!” I told him it would be a matter of his conscience. (I suppose in retrospect that I would have to challenge his filing, since he told me.) Anyway, the next day he called me and said he had gone to the electoral board office and had his absentee ballot cancelled. It’s good to know that conscience still matters.

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