05.31.2011 0

Let Republican Voters Pick Their Nominee

By David Bozeman – While nothing here is intended as a diatribe against open primaries (where voters of any or no affiliation are allowed to vote in the party’s primary of their choice), I do submit that in 2012 Republican voters alone should pick their own nominee for president.

Supporters of Ron Paul are counting, in part, on anti-war Democrats to secure the GOP nomination. At least seventeen contests, including the delegate-rich states of Michigan and Texas, and the all-important South Carolina, provide some sort of open-primary option for voters (Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee are among the others).

While crossing over to stir chaos and help nominate the weakest candidate on the other side has been employed by both major parties, as well as third parties, the fact remains that any Democrat who wants to vote in my party’s primary does not have our best interests at heart. In 2000, Democrats and independents elevated John McCain over the perceived more conservative George W. Bush, arguably costing resources that could have been banked for the general election.

Sadly, also, name recognition factors too highly in any party’s nominating process, though Democrats seem more likely to choose an up-and-comer (Carter, Clinton, Obama). Republicans, notoriously, pick the ‘next in line’ (namely Bob Dole and John McCain).

Professional prognosticators and bloviators color public perception, thus voters believe that Michele Bachmann is unelectable before the first votes have even been cast. It must be true because George Will and Charles Krauthammer say so. Bill O’Reilly, furthermore, has publicly declared Herman Cain not worthy of consideration in his near-nightly analyses, despite the fact that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO was declared the winner of the recent South Carolina debate by the Frank Luntz focus group and won an American Policy Summit straw poll (22 percent of 1600 votes cast) and an Iowa straw poll (42 votes to 16 for Newt Gingrich).

That is not to imply that GOP voters are incapable of independent thought, but the top-heavy nomination process leaves too many citizens without a voice. By the time North Carolina held its 2008 primary in early May, John McCain had already secured the nomination in March, leaving our votes not even worthy of a footnote, which means we must speak even louder, both verbally and with our contribution dollars.

We’re always hearing that Democrats are yearning for an Obama-Palin showdown because he would supposedly mop the floor with her in a debate, or that they long to see Gingrich nominated because he could be nailed for racism and hypocrisy.

Other liberals (and even some on the right) are advising that social conservatives should not compete for the nomination if the GOP is to stand a chance. Honestly, too much air time is wasted with whom liberals (be they commentators or ‘objective’ journalists) opine that the Republicans should nominate. Speaking as a lowly foot soldier in the conservative movement, just give me the facts. Give me the voting records. Give me the candidates themselves. I want political commentary to enhance my judgment, not to speak for me.

Whatever benefits one can derive from open primaries, the left still largely molds our nation’s political culture. “My party, my choice” makes a great rallying cry for Primary Season 2012. So, to liberals, keep your near hegemonic control of news dissemination and political thought, we’ll keep our ideological purity, thank you, and see who really connects with the American people.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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