Crossover Mischief in Michigan
Markos Moulitsas ZÃºniga has issued a call for Democrats to come out in droves to influence the Republican primary in Michigan:
In 1972, Republican voters in Michigan decided to make a little mischief, crossing over to vote in the open Democratic primary and voting for segregationist Democrat George Wallace, seriously embarrassing the state’s Democrats. In fact, a third of the voters (PDF) in the Democratic primary were Republican crossover votes. In 1988, Republican voters again crossed over, helping Jesse Jackson win the Democratic primary, helping rack up big margins for Jackson in Republican precincts. (Michigan Republicans can clearly be counted on to practice the worst of racial politics.) In 1998, Republicans helped Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer — quack Geoffrey Feiger — win his Democratic primary, thus guaranteeing their hold on the governor’s mansion that year.
With a history of meddling in our primaries, why don’t we try and return the favor. Next Tuesday, January 15th, Michigan will hold its primary. Michigan Democrats should vote for Mitt Romney, because if Mitt wins, Democrats win.
Whether the last sentiment is true (and I think it is) it’s an interesting idea to which the blogosphere has responded to Kos’ post with enthusiasm.
Duncan “Atrios” Black is endorsing the plan without reservation.
Steve Benen is on board, although he concedes Romney could wind up being more formidable in the general election than most now think. He’s willing to take his chances, though.
TBogg loves the idea because, “the longer Romney stays in, the more money he’ll throw into those
negative “contrast” ads that he is so proud of.”
Matt Yglesias figures Democrats could do this for non-cynical reasons, noting, “I’d take President Romney over President McCain or President Huckabee.”
Bob Owensthinks Kos is taking liberties with history, arguing Wallace would have taken Michigan without Republican crossovers; that’s probably true.
Ron Beasley cries Foul, arguing that Democrats would lose the moral high ground they now hold if they resorted to such chicanery. (Of course, Democrats have done quite a bit of cross-over voting before — most recently for McCain in 2000 — but for non-nefarious purposes.)
Sister Toldja believes the very idea of this plan “shows you the depth of the far left’s depravity this campaign season, and their willingness to do whatever it takes to win the election.”
Ann Althouse thinks Romney would be a very competitive nominee and, moreover, a prolonged Republican primary would be to the party’s benefit.
Ed Morrissey is nonplussed by the plan, figuring the influence of the netroots will pale against that of the party GOTV efforts and believes “almost all of the crossover votes will get cast earnestly.” I tend to think so as well; not that many people are going to go to all the trouble of making mischief and, really, there would be better ways to do that than voting Romney. (Libby Spencer suggests a Ron Paul vote as a more effective strategy.)
Regardless, though, primaries are where the political parties select their tickets. They should, therefore, be closed to registered members of the parties.