A vote for a Republican on August 15 isn’t a “strategic” vote that will help your favorite Democratic candidate. It’s a vote FOR a Republican. Period. This isn’t a game, so don’t try to play it like a poker hand. You will lose and so will Alabama.
A friend of a friend just posted this on Facebook, and it’s horrifying:
Many different Democratic groups are asking us to vote Roy Moore. The Dems project that the only way we can get Jones in is to have him go against Moore, because Moore splits the party.
That doesn’t make Jones a shoe in, but at least gives him 20% better shot at the seat. So, I support Moore in the primary.
I don’t know a single “Democratic” group that’s doing this unless there’s some newly-organized shadow club that calls itself “Republicans United to Suppress Democratic Turnout.”
Doug Jones has a relatively experienced campaign team who, I hope, isn’t so infected with the “inevitability” and “hubris” viruses that they think he’s going to win the nomination without actual voters. This really looks like an effort on the part of the Moore campaign to make sure he makes the runoff in September – and perhaps knock out the candidate that Moore thinks is his biggest threat.
The Democratic primary field is full of good candidates, and that has to terrify the Republicans. Learn more about all seven Democratic primary candidates here.
Besides this strategy being really clumsy and stupid, here are more reasons to stay out of the Republican primary.
Crossover Voting Ban
Since 2012, some Republicans have been whining about Democratic “interference” in their primaries. This year, the Alabama Republican Party got a burr under its tail because they were sure that Democrats were voting in the Republican primary in order to hurt the strongest Republican candidates. They know that sort of mischief happens, of course, because they did it to Alabama Democrats for decades. In 2010, Robert Bentley solicited Democratic votes in the Republican runoff!
So this is the first primary election where, by state law (not just party regulations), a voter who votes in “Party A’s'” primary can only voter in “Party A’s” runoff. In short, you can’t vote Democratic in the primary on Tuesday and then vote in the Republican runoff.
You can, however, vote for a Republican in the primary/runoff and vote Democratic in the general election. Some Democrats seem to think this is a dandy idea.
Here’s why it is a bad plan. In a crowded field of 7 Democratic candidates and a low turnout election, anything can happen. A few hundred votes (or fewer) may decide who makes the runoff and who doesn’t. Suppose your favorite Democrat makes the runoff, but you voted in the GOP primary. That’s one less vote to help him make it to the general election.
You’ve thrown your vote away by making a “strategic” choice. It’s doubly gone if your favorite Democrat loses the runoff by a small margin.
Discourage New Candidates From Running
Why would a young, energetic progressive Alabama Democrat make the time and financial sacrifice of running for office if he/she knows that all the real “progressive” Democrats will cross over in the primary to vote for the least crazy Republican? Or try to implement some dumb “strategic” vote plan to support the nuttiest Republican you think can win the GOP primary but then go on to lose the general election. Seriously… you want to take that risk?
If we want to build a bench of new leadership, they need to see that their local parties and their base will be there for them. In the primary to help them win the nomination and in the general election. A pledge that “I’ll be with you in November!” means NOTHING in the primary.
There are other reasons not to do it. I’ve written about them for years, so allow me the timesaver of cutting and pasting!
It’s really impossible, IMO, to “vote strategically.” Instead, as a Democrat and progressive to liberal political person, you’re probably voting for the least crazy person on the ballot, you’re helping the Alabama GOP choose candidates that are most acceptable to the general electorate. The people who would be totally turned off by Roy Moore might not have as much of a problem with the other two.
And in doing so, you make it more difficult for the Democrat in the race in the general election to win because the Democrats voting in the GOP primary have “helped hide the crazy.”
Everybody’s vote is personal and their own business, but when you vote to make mischief you end up hurting the viability of the Democratic Party far more than you hurt the GOP.
From 2013 – Stay out of the GOP special election primary
But when we do that – again, with an understandable wish to keep extremists out of office – we’re giving the GOP two big gifts:
- Turnout bragging rights: (PDF) In 1990, almost 750,000 people voted in the Democratic primary and 125,000 participated in the Republican primary. In the 1996 primary, the gap had narrowed considerably, with only 100,000 more people voting in the Democratic primary than in the Republican. By 2004, the gap had narrowed to just 8,000 more Democrats.In 2010…. 318,000 votes were cast in the Democratic primary and 493,000 in the Republican. The 2012 primary numbers for the Democrats were so dismal I can’t bear to think about it. However, that was also due the lack of contested races at the state level.
- Helping elect the lesser of two evils. When Democrats get involved in GOP primaries to help defeat the most extremist candidates, the resulting general election candidate is far more palatable to independent voters and even Democratic voters.In short, when you vote in the GOP primary against extremists like Dean Young, you help elect Republicans in the general election.
Let’s look at how well that worked in 2010 – the year of the GOP Supermajority.
Our Governor Dr. Robert Bentley swept to victory in the primary and runoff thanks to money courtesy of the AEA. It was a grudge match between Paul Hubbard and Bradley Byrne: Bentley was the unexpected recipient of millions of AEA’s anti-Byrne ads. It was well known that AEA funded Bentley in the primary, so in November many of the members marched to the polls and voted for the man & the party that gave us the great private school giveaway and no Medicaid expansion.
Of course, Byrne came steaming back in the Congressional special election this year where Democratic votes helped him defeat TEA Party candidate Dean Young.
Now, Byrne HAD a Democratic opponent, and the same crossover Democrats who voted for Byrne said they’d of course “support the Democrat in the general election,” but Dean Young was just unacceptable. I’m sure Burton LeFlore, the Democratic nominee, feels a lot better knowing that – but how did crossover Democrats in Byrne’s district feel about their handiwork when the first bill their new – less objectionable – Congressman sponsored was to “repeal Obamacare?”
If that didn’t curdle the crossover cream, nothing will.
Is that much different than Dean Young? Byrne is smarter and slicker, but the voting results in Congress and the legislature are the same.
In short, campers… JUST SAY NO to voting in the Republican primary. Their crazy is not our crazy.
We have great candidates running for Senate. Support them instead.