How can someone as liberal as John McCain or Mike Huckabee win in a GOP primary or caucus? Are they perhaps bribing caucus-goers to abandon principal in favor of, say, gold jewelry?
No, I believe a far different dynamic is at stake.
Most notably in Iowa and New Hampshire, but prevalent in many of the early primary and caucus states is a set of rules, established by the GOP and Democratic parties at the state level, that allow anyone to vote in the primary (or attend the caucus) of their choice without so much as even having to declare a party preference or even prove they are a resident of the state in question.
This policy, called “open participation” or “open attendance,” skews the results of such primaries away from the wishes of actual party members. This was most noticeable in New Hampshire and Iowa, where all a person had to do in say they hoped to live in those states someday soon, and they would be allowed to attend and participate in a caucus (in the case of Iowa) or vote in the primary in question (in the case of New Hampshire).
This means that Hollywood liberals with time to burn thanks to the writers strike could conceivably have attended the Iowa caucuses to vote for Huckabee, then voted in the New Hampshire primary for John McCain, just to prevent a more conservative candidate, like Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson, from gaining traction. It also means that the traveling staff of each campaign could conceivably do likewise, leaving a multiple-vote trail behind them as the primary and caucus season advances.
This open policy needs to end.
It should be the business of Republicans – and Republicans only – to select who they want to lead their party in a presidential contest; it should be the business of Democrats – and Democrats only – to select who they want to lead their party in a presidential contest.
The media admits the truth of the current situation when they report how well McCain is doing by drawing his support from Democrats and independents. Yet the bottom line is, they should have no say in who fronts the Republican ticket, since they are not Republicans.
WonderfulPessimist.com suggests that both parties pass new rules for 2012 and going forward that require proof of residency and, hopefully, a declaration of party preference, prior to allowing anyone in any state to participate in a state caucus or primary. Until then, the whole process is a joke.
So what should independents do during primary season, you ask? Simple.
Either choose a side or stay home.