Wednesday, July 13, 2011

State Party Policy Committee supports "closed" primary

MIGOP's policy committee endorsed a closed primary. I put "closed" in quotes, because I don't know how closed it can end up being. The last real attempt at a true closed primary was in 1992, and I remember even back then that was an absolute mess, and that was with contests on both sides (Pat Buchanan challenged GHWB.) I have my concerns with this. Party registration was tossed out of court as well, at least as it was implemented at the time. I do like this better than an open primary, but Michigan doesn't have true formal party registration. The problem with this is that 2008 had contests on both sides. Primaries without party registration only work when that is the case. Damage can be limited to an extent, but only so much. With the rise of internet politics, (mostly a good thing) organization is much easier for shenanigans. In 2000, John Conyers lead the way in pushing a McCain vote to embarrass John Engler. It worked. In 1972, George Wallace won for the democrats. In 1988, Jesse Jackson. Yes, Michigan voted for both George Wallace and Jesse Jackson.

I understand the cost concerns based on speculation. Caucus supporters say it won't cost much. Primary supporters think otherwise.

From Saul Anuzis:

After several months of discussions between state committee members, county chairs and party activists…the State Committee’s Policy Committee unanimously passed a resolution recommending a closed primary to the full State Committee.

The Committee considered the pros and cons of a caucus, convention and closed primary. Every possible factor was considered and there was a significant amount of input from activists around the state. Committee members representing EVERY congressional district solicited advise from their members.

The Committee also recommended using the 2008 Apportionment method to allocate delegates. That is winner take all by congressional district and proportional for the at-large delegates based on the overall statewide vote. A candidate would have to get a minimum of 15% to qualify for any delegates.

The final vote is in August's state committee meeting. I'm not on state committee, so I don't have a vote. If I did, I'd have to look closely at any language dealing with registration, challenges, and alternatives. I'd support this over an open primary. I think conventions are real bad from a PR standpoint and strongly oppose them for presidential nominations. They are good for "smaller" offices.

I support a caucus. It's not perfect and would take a lot of work. A lot of the old timers oppose caucuses based on 1988's fight between Jack Kemp, George HW Bush, and Pat Robertson. I wasn't active then, but have heard plenty of stories. It's a different era, with different people and candidates. Top down stuff backfires a lot more these days in the age of the internet.

Opponents of the caucus have logistic worries, but Michigan has had caucuses for a long time. The last one was in 2004. It was done by the democrats. There was some controversy, but mostly with candidates ignoring Detroit.

I'll take a "closed" primary over a convention (too exclusive) and over a true open primary, but I think caucuses are the cleanest way in a non party registration state to determine that party's nomination for president.

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Edited to add. I'm hearing, but haven't confirmed that the policy committee's decision if enacted, would have voters declaring their ballot at the polling place. If that is true, than this is not a closed primary at all but an open primary. I oppose that 100%. If there is going to be a primary, there needs to be more safeguards than that, and the policy committee's recommendation would need to be amended.

1 comment:

Communications guru said...

As long as the MRP is paying for it and not the taxpayers you can exclude anyone you want.