Dems Plot to Pollute Michigan Republican Primary; Should Open Primaries Be Banned?

Daily Kos is urging Democrats to ignore the Michigan Democratic primary and vote for Republican Mitt Romney in the Republican primary in an effort to fragment Republicans by keeping another front runner in the race:

With a history of meddling in our primaries, why don’t we try and return the favor. Next Tuesday, January 15th, Michigan will hold its primary. Michigan Democrats should vote for Mitt Romney, because if Mitt wins, Democrats win. How so?

For Michigan Democrats, the Democratic primary is meaningless since the DNC stripped the state of all its delegates (at least temporarily) for violating party rules. Hillary Clinton is alone on the ballot.

But on the GOP side, this primary will be fiercely contested. John McCain is currently enjoying the afterglow of media love since his New Hamsphire victory, while Iowa winner Mike Huckabee is poised to do well in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, poor Mitt Romney, who’s suffered back-to-back losses in the last week, desperately needs to win Michigan in order to keep his campaign afloat. Bottom line, if Romney loses Michigan, he’s out. If he wins, he stays in.

And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.

Two polls the last couple of days show a tight race: Strategic Vision (R) shows Romney within striking distance with 20 percent to McCain’s 29 (Huckabee is third with 18), while Rossman Group shows Huckabee with the lead — 23 percent to Romney’s 22 and McCain’s 18.

Now here’s the thing — without a real Democratic contest on the ballot, and a lack of party registration in Michigan, this is an open primary. Anyone can pick up a Republican ballot. So Michigan Democrats and independents who want to see the Republican battle royale continue should just take a few minutes on Tuesday, January 15th to cast a ballot for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary.

If you know someone in Michigan, send them the email I’ve included below the fold. If you don’t know someone in Michigan, send the email to your liberal friends and see if THEY have friends in Michigan. Get the word out, whether by blog, mailing list, MySpace or Facebook page, or whatever.

If we can help push Mitt over the line, not only do we help keep their field fragmented, but we also pollute Romney’s victory. How “legitimate” will the Mittster’s victory look if liberals provide the margin of victory? Think of the hilarity that will ensue. We’ll simply be adding fuel to their civil war, never a bad thing from our vantage point.

It would be sweet justice if the strategy backfired and Romney won the Republican nomination. He’s got to be one of the left’s least welcome candidates in the race just by virtue of the fact that he’s lived a decent, upstanding life and he’s generally conservative.

Of course, Kos’s real agenda is probably to promote the candidate he perceives as less electable in order to torpedo the chances of candidates such as Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani who are potentially more electable or stronger on defense issues, but who have yet to gain any traction in the earliest small primaries.

What do you think Republicans should do to counter the Democrats’ game-playing in Michigan? Anything? Or just let Mitt Romney take whatever votes Daily Kos wants to hand him and leave it at that?

In any event, this is a good example of why open primaries are bad idea. Michigan Republicans will end up giving their state’s nomination to a candidate, whoever it might be, who may or may not be their preference.

The Case Against Open Primaries

To me, open primaries were an extremely bad idea from their inception.

What’s the point of listening to campaign debates, studying the candidates’ positions on the issues, and campaigning for candidates, if you’re going to let the opposing party — or whoever walks in off the street — vote to choose your party’s candidate for you? You might as well roll the dice and be done with it.

There’s such a thing as being too inclusive. Hillary Clinton’s recent demagoguery notwithstanding, yes, there is such a thing as an "illegal woman," if the term is used to mean someone who has violated a nation’s immigration laws.

As long as we have laws, there will be lawbreakers — illegals. Any constitutional democracy is founded on laws, not on the variable whims of tyrants like Saddam Hussein or KIm Jong-il.

Obviously not everyone on American soil is “legal.” Some are illegal immigrants (far too many), some are fugitives from justice, and some prisoners or escaped convicts. There may be Islamic terrorists in our midst working right now on their next act of mass murder and mayhem. They can’t all be “in,” nor should they be. In real life, distinctions can and must be drawn.

Not everyone can be president; not everyone can be an American (at least, not all at once, please), and not everyone who votes in open primaries in Michigan is a fair-minded voter who just wants to help pick the best president from the available candidates. Some are planning to nominate the worst (as they define it).

With massive numbers of primaries bunched up early in 2008, this might be a good year to revisit open primaries (after the election, for practical purposes) and work to end them nationwide. Anything else is disrespectful to the rights of voters of each political party who take their responsibilities seriously.

If you think there’s a good argument to be made for open primaries that I’ve overlooked, leave a comment. Let’s have a debate, if there is room for debate.

In the meantime, as long as the open primary system exists, it’s completely “legal” (if that’s not a politically incorrect word anymore) for people of any party to cross over and vote in any other party’s primary. In that case, I see no moral issue if Republicans want to do “mischief” in some other state’s Democratic primary for as long as the open primary system exists.

My objection to open primaries is not a moral issue; it’s a practical one. If we want to choose the best president, we need to make sure that most of the votes cast in political primaries are cast by voters who sincerely seek the best nominee as they understand it.

Note: An earlier version of this entry was published at GINA COBB , where you’ll find more news and commentary.

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