Finding North Without a Compass

A retired Army officer and retired Fortune 500 executive, Warren may be best known for making waves while serving on the Mequon Common Council and Ozaukee County Board. He's no longer an elected official, but he has plenty to say about local, state and national issues.


Presidential Primary Follies

We are now well into the Presidential Primary season. It makes me long for the "good old days" when candidates were selected in smoke-filled rooms based upon their ability to lead the nation and their electability. In those days we got FDR vs. Herbert, FDR vs. Alf, FDR vs. Wendell, Harry vs. Tom, and Ike vs. Adlai -- and the country couldn't go wrong with either candidate. 

Then, we came up with the Primary System, which not only became a popularity contest but a system that is being employed by voters to use their votes, not to show support for a candidate, but as a weapon against another candidate. Most of latter derives from the so called "open primary" wherein any voter can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. That will be the case here in Wisconsin on our primary day of February 19. 

When I was a resident of Connecticut, I was unable to vote in primaries since I was an Independent and not either a registered Democrat or Republican.  I thought that was fair, as why should I, a non-supporter of either party be allowed to help pick the candidate to represent that party?  That was not the case in the first three open primaries held in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan and we saw the abuses begin. 

In Iowa, Independent voters flocked to the Democrat caucuses to vote for Senator Obama for no other reason than they wanted to stop Senator Clinton's predestined march to the Democratic nomination. To a lesser extent it was identical on the Republican side wherein Independent voters with an evangelical bent went for Governor Huckabee. New Hampshire was a little better, but still it was the Independent voter who made the difference in the winners -- Senator Clinton and Senator McCain.

It was the Michigan Primary that really was unique in bringing out the worst of the open primary system.  Because Senator Clinton had no real opposition in Michigan, the far left web sites like Daily Kos went all out to encourage Michigan's normally liberal Democrats to cross-over and vote for Republican Mitt Romney.  The strategy worked and Romney nosed out McCain in the final tally.

You ask, why would the far-left liberals do this?  According to Mr. Zuniga who runs the ultra liberal Daily Kos web site, a vote for Romney would be a vote to halt the momentum of McCain, after his New Hampshire win.  That would keep the Republican campaign in a state of flux with Republicans continuing to campaign against each other rather than husbanding their resources to oppose the Democrat selection in the November election. 

The consensus of the professionals was that if McCain had won Michigan his nomination as the Republican candidate for President would have been close to being sewed up.  Further, of all the Republican candidates, the ultra liberal left feared McCain the most.  As a war hero, experienced in foreign and domestic affairs, and known for his straight talk, he represented the greatest threat to any Democratic candidate.  Of course, the Republican party might still revert back to their past roots where principle outweighs electability, and select a clone of Barry Goldwater or Bob Dole. 

With Florida coming up and Super Tuesday on the horizon, who knows what effect crossover voting might affect in those states that permit it.  If, by the time February 19 rolls around for the Wisconsin primary, the selection process may be all but completed.  If not, our open primary may yet bring some interesting results with Wisconsin voters crossing over, not to support the candidate of their choice, but to disrupt the candidacy of a candidate they oppose.  In the final analysis this is a repugnant approach which abuses something as priceless as a vote.

The solution is obvious. The individual states should all agree that to vote in a primary for a national office, a person must be registered as a member of the party participating in the primary.  To allow crossover voting is to permit non-party members to affect the selection of a party's candidate.  To me, permitting a rump group to disrupt a legitimate political party's candidate selection process is not something our Founding Fathers would approve.  

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