Santorum appealing to Michigan Democrats

I have several times expressed disgust with the Republican Party for leaving in place the open primaries, in which non-Republicans are allowed to vote. This irrational and senseless system undercuts the very idea of a party choosing its nominee. Specifically, it allows Democrats to vote in the Republican primary for the more liberal Republican candidate, taking away the ability of the Republicans to nominate a conservative.

And now the very bad has gotten worse. Rick Santorum’s campaign in Michigan is robo-calling Democratic voters asking them to vote for him in the GOP primary. Note: that’s the “conservative” candidate, Santorum, asking Democrats to help him defeat the “non-conservative” candidate, Romney.

Two points:

- How can anyone respect Santorum after this?

- That the GOP did not see the absolute need to get rid of open primaries after the disaster of 2008, in which Democratic voters in several GOP primaries propelled the hopeless sub-mediocrity McCain to victory over Romney, but instead allowed this absurd system to continue, indicates to me a party that is too stupid to win in 2012.

- end of initial entry -

D. Edwards writes:

From Quin Hillyer in The American Spectator:

Reagan won a huge victory in Texas, 66%-33%, largely via an immense crossover vote from Texas Democrats. He won all 100 delegates from the state, completely jump-starting his campaign and going on to win a long series of primaries. Conservative U.S. Sen. John Tower of texas,was a Ford man that year, and he complained bitterly that the Reagan win was due to the Dems.

In a number of other primaries in addition to Texas, Reagan did the same thing, either winning due to Democratic crossovers or keeping it close due to the Dems.

Ford moaned a lot about it, but Reagan repeatedly put up stirring defenses for allowing everybody to vote for whomever they wanted. He said that the GOP candidate would need Dems and independents to vote GOP to win the fall campaign anyway, so why not appeal to them in the primaries, too?

LA replies:

The incident recounted was 36 years ago, when the modern primary system had just gotten started. We have a lot of experience under our belt since then. We’ve seen Republican nomination contests thrown askew by Democratic voters. We’ve seen the majority of Republicans deprived of their choice by Democrats voting in Republican primaries.

Most importantly, Reagan’s points are irrelevant as concerns the INJUSTICE of letting non-Republicans cast a vote in the contest for the REPUBLICAN nominee.

Carol in Montana writes:

I don’t see how closing the primaries would make any difference.

Activist voters could still change their party registration to vote in the desired primary if they really wanted to skew the result.

In a state like mine, where there is no registration by party, you can’t exclude anyone anyway; the voter gets his choice of party ballots.

When my party in 2008 tried to head off Democratic interference by holding closed caucuses, we were accused of “disenfranchising” independent voters. In a way they were right.

And since so many people are loath to identify with any party, anyway (everyone’s an “independent” now) closing the primary would exclude a lot of voters who might become emotionally invested in your party’s eventual nominee by helping to nominate him.

LA replies:

” … closing the primary would exclude a lot of voters … “

I’m sorry, but this reasoning strikes me as off-base. A non-Republican is not disenfranchised by not being allowed to vote in a Republican primary!

To say that he is, is like saying that I am disenfranchised if I’m not allowed to vote in the French presidential election. It’s like saying that a Jew is being disenfranchised if he’s not allowed to be a member of the College of Cardinals.

However, such reasoning is consistent with modern, anti-discriminatory liberalism, which denies the legitimacy of any collective entity—a nation, a political party, a church—whose membership is not equally open, at least in principle, to every human being in the world.

David B. writes:

Mainstream Republicans can’t let go of their Reagan fixation. It isn’t 1976 or 1980 anymore. Not only that, it didn’t always happen as they claim to remember.

I remember the 1976 campaign well. Here in Tennessee I heard radio spots calling for conservative Democrats to vote for Ronald Reagan. George Wallace’s campaign had collapsed and some of them did vote for Reagan in the primary, but Ford still won the Tennessee primary. Most conservative Democrats that year went for Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan had trouble in Tennessee because he had supposedly called for selling the TVA.

Reagan made a big push for Democrats to vote for him in Michigan’s Republican primary in 1976. What happened? A lot of liberal Democrats voted in the GOP primary for Ford, who won by a landslide. They were afraid Reagan might get the nomination and somehow win. I recall a Newsweek magazine article on the Michigan primary telling how Democrats gave Gerald Ford a big victory, which slowed down the momentum Reagan had after his Texas win.

D. Edwards writes:

I find this rather amusing(via Mark Levin):

Surprise! It Was Romney Backers that Pushed for Open Primary in Michigan February 28, 2012 By Kurt Rand

According to a Michigan Republican State Committee (MRSC) member, Romney backers in statewide Republican leadership roles, including the governor and attorney general, pushed for an open Michigan primary. These open primary rules allow voters to vote in either party’s primary without declaring any party affiliation.

More details at Rebelpundit.

LA replies:

Interesting. And this sounds like Reagan in ‘76, as told by David B. above. Reagan’s appeal for Democratic votes was not only unprincipled, it ended up hurting him. And the same thing seems to be happening with Romney in Michigan.

LA continues:

I just went to Drudge (it’s just before 9 p.m. Eastern time), and this is the story linked in the main headline:

Many Democrats voting for Santorum, Paul to deny Romney a Michigan win

Insane. The Republicans allowed this. This is below the level of minimal human intelligence and functionality. This is like going out for a meal, and eating automobile grease off the street.

I repeat: there was apparently no effort within the Republican party after the 2008 election to put an end to the absurdity of open primaries.

LA continues:

Please note: the Democrats voting in the Republican primary are not voting to make their voices heard and have their views represented in our political process. They are voting, pure and simple, in order to sabotage the Republicans. They think Romney is the best best to defeat Obama in the fall, so they’re trying to wreck him. And the Republicans invited the Democrats to do this.

March 1

David B. writes:

A few days ago I told you how Ronald Reagan called for Democrats to vote for him in the 1976 Michigan primary. It backfired when liberal Democrats voted for Ford in large numbers, giving Reagan a landslide loss. They were afraid Reagan would get the nomination and there would be a chance he would win.

“Reagan’s right-wing aggressiveness scares the hell out of me. If he gets the nomination, there’s always the chance he could be elected,” a liberal was quoted as saying in Newsweek magazine.

I would be willing to bet some liberals in MIchigan voted for Romney in the Republican primary for the same reason. They think Santorum will establish a right-wing theocracy.

In Tennessee that year, the Reagan forces used radio spots that said “Ronald Reagan’s appeal crosses party lines.” In 1976 and 1980, that had some validity. Today’s stupid republicans hang onto their Reagan fixation, which doesn’t fit today’s realities.

LA replies:

Yes, everything and anything Reagan did is authoritative and sacred.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 28, 2012 03:09 PM | Send

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