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multi party, open primary, etc

 
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My state primary for the US President is Tuesday. In one of the editorials about it, there were two statements:
  • "another state anomoloy is its multiparty system." - It goes on to say that this will hinder Cruz becuase the most conservative people in NY are members of the Conservative Party rather than the Republican party
  • something about an open primary


  • I understand the multi-party part. Although one could argue that is a good thing as it increases the chances of the "less extreme" candidate winning. (although in practice the number of smaller party voters is usually too small to matter.) For the open primary, I don't get it. One can change parties even with party affiliation. (In NY you had to do this in October which means two of Trump's children can't vote for him because they didn't register for the Republican primary in time).

    Does anyone live in a state with an open primary? How do they avoid it turning into "vote for the worst candidate of the other party"?

    My affiliation: I registered as a Democrat when I was 18 (before I had any political opinions) of my own because where i live the Democratic primary is typically "the election" for local races.
     
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:My state primary for the US President is Tuesday. In one of the editorials about it, there were two statements:

  • "another state anomoloy is its multiparty system." - It goes on to say that this will hinder Cruz becuase the most conservative people in NY are members of the Conservative Party rather than the Republican party
  • something about an open primary


  • I understand the multi-party part. Although one could argue that is a good thing as it increases the chances of the "less extreme" candidate winning. (although in practice the number of smaller party voters is usually too small to matter.) For the open primary, I don't get it. One can change parties even with party affiliation. (In NY you had to do this in October which means two of Trump's children can't vote for him because they didn't register for the Republican primary in time).

    Does anyone live in a state with an open primary? How do they avoid it turning into "vote for the worst candidate of the other party"?

    My affiliation: I registered as a Democrat when I was 18 (before I had any political opinions) of my own because where i live the Democratic primary is typically "the election" for local races.



    People often vote for whomever they want. Sometimes for the best in their party or the worst in the other, but also for the best in the other party. For example, many Republicans are voting for Sanders because they believe he is an honest candidate, and it either abhors them that Hillary is winning or they just want to give the Bern a chance. Also, some Democrats are voting for Trump, either because Trump is more of a Democrat (based his political contributions of the past, where he has given to both party's candidates but more on the Democratic side, also his statements, prior to this cycle are usually those of the moderate Democrats) and they see him more fit than the other candidates, or because they are scared of the more conservative Republican candidates, and some for Cruz, because they are scared of Trump (though Cruz himself has of late compared them to Reagan Democrats).

    In the end, people often vote their conscience, which may not be strictly tied to whom should be the candidate that best represents their views.

    --

    The vote-for-one-candidate system has been the subject of debate for over a century and a half. IIUC, the two main systems to replace it are multiple rounds, by removing the candidate with the least votes before each round (or a variation of that, such as based on percentage, or a set number of candidates may go to the next round), and voting a list, with each candidate being prescribed a weight or ordinal, based on preference. The latter method more accurately captures the will of the people, but implementation is likely expensive, and certainly confusing to the average voter. The former is done here and there, but is by no means commonplace.
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    Brian,
    I get that for the general election. I was going to write why I don't for a primary but I think I convinced myself otherwise!
     
    Brian Tkatch
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Brian,
    I get that for the general election. I was going to write why I don't for a primary but I think I convinced myself otherwise!


    Why not for a primary as well? At least within the same party? It would remove all the issues with a candidate "stealing" votes.
     
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Does anyone live in a state with an open primary?


    I do.

    How do they avoid it turning into "vote for the worst candidate of the other party"?


    We don't, but it doesn't.

    This actually did happen in Tennessee, four years ago, so the possibility is real.

    Here in Virginia, there are two ways people have coped with it. First, primary (and general, for that matter) voter participation is a matter of public record. Only you know whom you voted for, but anyone can find out whether or not you voted at all. On Primary Day, you have to ask for either a Democratic or a Republican ballot (we have a system for allowing other parties to participate, but it has tough criteria, and I'm not aware of it having been used within recent memory). You can only choose one, not both. Now, because your choice is also a matter of public record, the parties can check on you to see whose primaries you have participated in. That fact alone is enough to keep most Virginians from "gaming" the system. However, the state Republican party also has a requirement that you may not vote in their nominating contests if you have voted in any Democratic primary in the last five years. I believe this was challenged in court, and the Republicans prevailed, at least as to nominating contests that are not decided by primary elections.

    That's confusing, so let me explain: There are other ways for a party to choose its nominee besides primaries. In Virginia, there are, in total, four ways.

    1. A primary. Anyone can vote, and anyone who gets enough signatures on a petition can run. We have no formal party registration here.

    2. A convention. The party holding the convention can run it pretty much any way they like. In most cases, people run in elections that first choose the delegates to the convention. Again, the party holding the convention can run those elections any way they want, too. Typically, a delegate will come from such a small area that "running" takes the form of calling all your friends and asking them to come to the local firehouse on a specific day, and vote for you. If you win, you are a delegate and can vote at the convention to choose your party's nominee for the actual general election.

    3. An unassembled caucus (also called a "firehouse primary"). This is an informal primary run by the party, not by the state. Typically, a single location is chosen where, for a period of hours, anyone may come in and vote to choose the party's nominee for the actual general election. As with a convention, the party can pretty much run it any way they like. This can include requiring a voter to sign a paper saying they will back the nominee in the general, no matter whom it is. For years, the local Republicans here had that requirement, while the Democrats only required that you agree not to oppose the nominee (that is, you could be neutral, and not support or oppose anyone). Recently, the local Democrats replaced that with a promise that you would "do all within your power" to see their nominee elected, a requirement so facially ridiculous that even I wouldn't sign it. Except by expulsion from the local party committee (if one is even a member, which most voters are not), these commitments are almost completely unenforceable, but note the Republicans' purity test, and consider that a party could easily say you can't vote if committed any of a number of sins (like opposing their nominee in the last five years, donating to the other party, or trash-talking someone with clout in the local party committee).

    4. By arbitrary selection if your nominee dies or drops out, close to the election. After the deadline for certifying a candidate passes, if a party has a candidate it has certified, and that candidate dies or formally drops out of the race, up to a couple of weeks before Election Day, the party committee with appropriate jurisdiction can convene an ad hoc meeting, decide a method for choosing a new nominee, and do so. Jurisdiction is based on the political unit being represented and, theoretically, there is a "committee" for each county, town, city, state senate district, and state house district in Virginia, as well as a state-wide committee for the entire place. (In practice, county and city committees are the only real committees below the state committee, with all those others coming into being just long enough to certify candidates and/or choose new ones when needed. Yes, it is a messy, error-prone process.)

    Note that in three out of four of those options, the state government has no role. Thus, for a lot of elections, especially local ones, there are no formal primaries. The local committees choose their own scheme, and run it how they want. I don't know what the Republicans do, but the Democrats mostly tend to avoid nominating contests for local elections. The exception is when a sure-to-be-Democratic seat opens up. Those do tend to produce real nominating contests and, as you have observed elsewhere, they effectively become the election itself.

    Hope that helps but, if not, someone who knows the inner psyches of all the mindless sheep involved will shortly arrive to tell us how it all really works and why.
     
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    Missouri has an open primary. Just like Stevens said, they ask you which ballot you want - Democratic or Republican. I think you can also choose an independent ballot, which gives you bond issues, school board, etc, but no party choices.

    How do they avoid it turning into "vote for the worst candidate of the other party"?


    Even forcing people to register with a party doesn't prevent this. I tend to favor Democrats, but I could easily register with the Republicans for the sole purpose of always "vot[ing] for the worst candidate of the other party". If I figure the worst Democrat is always going to be better than the best Republican, why wouldn't I do this?
     
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