Open Season On Open Primaries

Who created this political beast known as an Open Primary?

Please stand and be recognized by the chair…because I’d like to toss mine at you.

You know we all have them.  Things in our society we know to be blatantly, completely wrong humming along in the background of our brains…but we push through life only concerning ourselves with issues much, much closer to our selfish hearts and minds…like crossing the street without getting run over…navigating through construction without getting a flat tire…eating before we pass out from starvation because we worked ten hours without a break.  Those sorts of things tend to take precedence over “distant” social issues because they immediately impact our living…our very existence.

Like leap years, we only have an election for President of the United States every four years.  While the existence of an Open Primary has been known to me for most of my life, living in Pennsylvania I admittedly only think upon them during Presidential elections.  And ours is a Closed Primary, so I will beg forgiveness for not making my feelings known on the entity known as the Open Primary until now.

There is so much at stake in our country today.  The very foundation of our national existence depends upon a balanced, responsible budget…a significant reduction in our debt…a reworking of all our health and welfare benefit contributions.  Quite honestly, if we don’t get our national fiscal act together…all social issues can go in that location known as the background of our brains because we’ll be dealing with far more urgent ones than, for example, who is a citizen.  You have to have a country to live in first before you can decide who belongs in it.

One post (and blogger) I highly recommend recently highlighted the urgency to focus on what truly is important right nowwhat we should be most concerned with as we move forward…coincidentally determining which President is awarded the chance to steer the course of our country.

I don’t know if you’d call it an epiphany, but as I was driving with my wife last evening we were listening to the national news on the radio.  There was discussion of Michigan’s Open Primary.  The question being asked was how many Democrats might be motivated to show up at their polls and vote for Republican Rick Santorum…because his winning would – in their minds at least – give the Democratic Party a better chance of getting their candidate, President Obama, re-elected.

Something just snapped in me while I was listening to the discussion of automated phone calls by Santorum’s campaign to Michigan Democrats.  Of Michigan Democrats even urging fellow Party members to get out the vote…for Republican candidate Santorum.

Perhaps it is because I have grown weary of all the excuses over the last decade or so why the government can’t do this, can’t do that.  Perhaps it is because I consider our nation at a truly pivotal time in its history.  Perhaps it is because I’m hearing about another “war” on the horizon while we seem to presently be in one where the folks we’re training to take care of themselves really want to “take care” of us instead.  Most likely, a combination of all these factors…motivated me to lecture here upon the concept of the Open Primary.

I’m going to table discussion about why each state even gets to operate differently from one another, especially when it comes to electing the next POTUS.  I won’t go down the road of asking why we don’t have standardization across the board when it comes to choosing what is still – for now at least – considered the most powerful man on Earth.  (I guess I just did…but let’s leave that alone for now)

No, I want to understand whose bright idea it was to create an election process that cries out for manipulation and mischief.  Do you realize that last night a decent percentage of folks were hovering around their TV’s, PC’s and Smart Phones all waiting to see if Santorum could edge out fellow Republican Mitt Romney in his “own backyard.”  A backyard where, courtesy of this folly known as an Open Primary, you can toss rocks through any nearby windows you like with extreme prejudice…and not fear any reprisal for your action.

My wife and I discussed this at some length even after we got home.  We tried to cut the person or persons who came up with the Open Primary concept slack, each briefly taking a devil’s advocate view the process allows those who don’t align themselves with either major party a chance to exercise their right to vote for someone they feel very strongly about…but we still always came back to the nagging issue they also can exercise that right to vote for someone they want to win…so someone else will eventually win.  The rock throwing in Michigan wasn’t limited to Independents.  Democrats could size up the political landscape and “go negative” as well.

What in Heaven’s name happened to the part where we go to the booth to vote for someone we believe in?  At what point did someone decide it would be a grand idea to allow folks to go to the polls just to stick it to the other “team”…the other guy?

These Primaries are a function of the Parties themselves.  You would think they’d want the winning candidate to represent the Party’s rank and file membership…not the guy the other Party thinks they have a better shot at defeating.

The bottom line is an Open Primary allows all of a candidate’s supporters to vote for them, regardless of any Party affiliation.

It also allows all of a candidate’s non-supporters to vote – for someone else – regardless of any Party affiliation.

Don’t get me wrong.  Here in Pennsylvania, voters have been recruited to switch Party affiliation to sabotage a Primary.  The Closed Primary is…open…to “raiding” also.

Last night, it just seemed to me to be so pathetic – so absurd – people were actually dialed in intently to learn the outcome in Michigan…as if the results were truly 100% representative of Republicans in that state.

I vote the whole concept of how all of us determine who should be our Presidential candidates needs to be revisited in a big, big way.  This tsunami wave of Primary stupidity simply…finally…knocked me off my feet last evening.

Maybe after we fix this, we can elect to take on the Electoral College next.

Have you heard how THAT “works”…?


About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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4 Responses to Open Season On Open Primaries

  1. Great post. It used to be each guy running for office would clearly honestly state what he planned to do if elected…then you voted for the one who you thought would do the best job. Being elected to a public office was considered short period “public service” not a long term career choice. People who ran for office were statesmen dedicated to doing what was best for the country – not politicians determined to keep their party in office at all costs – honest or not. And everyone -ordinary citizens and officials – didn’t spend money they didn’t had…lived within their means and work hard to improve lot in life. A lot has changed. People are so polarized. All we are offered is extremists. This is a critical election. But so much as been lost already. Hope your post id widely read. Thanks


  2. They could learn a thing or two from the American Idol voting system. 😉


    • That’s true, Lisa. I feel much more comfortable putting our Presidential primary contests in the hands of Fox. Um…wait a minute. Something doesn’t feel quite right from that last sentence…


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