Michigan Schemes

There are a number of serious problems in the system with which we elect our President. I’ve discussed a couple of the big ones before. But the worst problem with elections is that people keep playing politics with them.

I just learned that the Daily Kos has been encouraging Democrats in Michigan to tamper with the Republican primary. Kos wants voters to cross-over and help Romney win Michigan; not because he respects Romney, but so that the Republican primary remains an open battle without a frontrunner, forcing them to continue spending their money and wearing each other down. He figures that the Democrats can only benefit from a prolonged war within the Republican primary.

Kos justifies this sort of shenanigan because the Republican party has monkeyed with Democratic primaries many times over the past forty years. I doubt the Democrats have been pristine over the same period, it doesn’t matter even if they were heretofore innocent of such political games. Kos should remember the words which his mother, like all mothers, must surely have spoken when he was a child: “two wrongs don’t make a right.” I don’t care what the foes of liberalism have done; I’m concerned with what we liberals do. I’d rather lose with honor than win by betraying the very principles of a liberal democracy.

I have no problem with the concept of cross-over voting itself. As a liberal (though not a registered Democrat), I’ve done it myself. I was rather impress with Bill Bradley during the Democratic race, but felt that Gore had an insurmountable lead. So I chose to vote in the Republican primary (back before the Utah Republican cabal closed their primary). I voted for McCain, because I felt he was the best remaining candidate among the Republicans. I was not committed to voting for him, but I wanted the best possible choices on either ticket, so that no matter who won, the nation would be in good hands.

Why can’t politics be conducted with integrity? Why must so many plot and connive? Democracy is about strategyThat sort of cynical approach is what corrupts a party in the first place. Call me naive, but I truly do believe in the goal of a nation where we participate in the Democratic process in good faith, whether voting or campaigning, and fulfill the potential of democracy.

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10 Responses to “Michigan Schemes”

  1. David Says:

    I had wondered what effect Kos would have. Although Romney won Michigan I don’t think it had much, if anything to do with Democrats voting for him. There were more people voting republican than Democrat there, but not enough to look like large numbers of voters switched.

    You’d have to have some pretty strong evidence to convince me that 80,000 Democrats voted for Romney at the urging of Markos (that’s Romney’s approximate margin of victory).

  2. Thom Says:

    If I can channel Derek, here, I think the point isn’t whether or not it made a difference; it’s whether or not it was right. From a moral perspective, I think it’s hard to argue that tampering in the other party’s primary is the right thing to do (unless you’re a complete ends-justifies-means guy). From a practical perspective, there’s no sense handing ammunition to the other side (especially if it’s not going to make a difference).

  3. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Hey, Thom, I thought you didn’t read comments. But you’re exactly right; whether or not the plot was effectual doesn’t change the fact that the plan itself was unethical.

  4. Jesse Harris Says:

    I’ve never bought into the “they do it too” argument. If something is so bad that your opponent shouldn’t do it, neither should you. Anything less is bald-faced hypocrisy. Thanks for reminding us all to stick to our higher standards instead of wallowing around in the mud.

  5. Aaron Orgill Says:

    Good post. I would rather have the best candidate available from both parties. Morals aside, it’s ridiculous to even plot these things anyway, because it can so easily backfire. I hope we can rise above this and that Kos was unable to convince many to participate in their plot.

  6. andrewsmiracledrug Says:

    I agree with you completely on the morality, or lack thereof, in primary election tampering.

    But if it weren’t immoral, it probably wouldn’t even make sense strategically. Romney is still the best-funded Republican, and if Senator Clinton wins the nomination, that alone will be enough to energize the Republican base.

    I don’t think Romney is the GOP’s strongest general election candidate (that spot would have to go to McCain, I think), but he certainly isn’t the weakest.

  7. Aaron Orgill Says:

    I have to tell you, I had a dream Saturday night that I had been wrongfully detained due to a mix-up with some other guy who had a similar name to my son Jackson, and you guys (Derek and the others on this blog) came to the rescue with your political activism and got me out of Guantanamo. So thanks, everyone! 🙂

  8. jennifer Says:

    Anytime –

  9. jennifer Says:

    No problem – anytime…

  10. John in Detroit Says:

    As a Democrat in Michigan, I must say there was not much of a push to get Dems to vote in the GOP primary. The shenanigans by the Democratic leadership here served to advance our governor’s candidate, Clinton. Romney’s victory here was as legit as you can expect. His dad was a very popular governor here, and these idiots love their political royalty.

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