Idaho Dispatch

Your Local Media Ally

Op-Ed: The Deceit of Open Primaries

By • January 10, 2024

“If we cannot by reason, by influence, by example, by strenuous effort, and by personal sacrifice, mend the bad places of civilization, we certainly cannot do it by force.”

– Auberon Herbert

At the core of political parties is the idea of voluntary association. Voluntary association means that, as a free people, we have the right to associate with others based on any number of commonalities. Whether they be religious, ideological, social, or economic factors, we associate with people where we find common ground. In conservative America, this often means churches. In progressive America, this might mean labor or trade unions.

Regarding political associations, benefit arises when we seek to implement shared ideas in our communities. By voluntarily associating with a political party, we proclaim our shared belief in the party’s tenets. Both the Republican and the Democrat parties publish core beliefs in a party platform. Third parties such as the Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties also publish party platforms. In total, at least fifty-three political parties are operating in American politics.

The two largest political parties, the Republican and Democrat Parties, have enjoyed hegemony in American politics since the Civil War. On occasion, populist candidates like Teddy Roosevelt and Ross Perot have seen a measure of success in splintering the predominant two-party vote with the rise of their own parties, the Progressive and the Reform parties. Because they’re largely populist and tied to the candidate, their staying power has waned. By and large, political success in America at a state and national level is most commonly tied to an association with one of the two major political parties.

Idaho is no exception to two-party dominance. Idaho has never elected a governor who was not Republican or Democrat, and of the thirty-three governors of Idaho, twenty-one of them have been Republicans. As the major conservative party of the United States, the Republican Party most often finds a home in rural America. This is not by accident. Conservatism, by definition, is slow to change and promotes a slower pace of life with traditional family values. People who desire a quieter life often land in conservative regions.

In contrast, progressivism is the predominant political ideology of the Democrat Party, most often found in urban centers like Portland or Seattle. Because progressivism demands change at all times, Democrats are never complacent with how things are. This is why campaigns for ambiguous living wages are undefinable and never-ending. Seattle, which in recent history enacted a $15 per hour minimum wage, has most recently bumped their minimum wage again to $20 per hour. Progressives aren’t concerned about economic laws, the cost of inputs, and the resulting inflation or pricing producers out of their markets. Their only concern is promising the most benefit to their customers, the voters.

Because of the stark contrast in belief systems between conservatives and progressives, the Idaho Republican Party has made every effort to require some commonality in beliefs so that Republican voters can be assured that the Republican label will only be used to promote mutually agreed upon conservative policy. This is why, in 2011, the Idaho legislature enacted legislation that leaves the option of closed or open primaries to the voting party. The Idaho Democrat Party, desperate for votes, elected to open their primary. The Republican Party, wishing to narrow their numbers down to mutual belief, closed their primary. This does not exclude voters from the political process, as anyone can register as a Republican. It merely asks that voters voluntarily affiliate before participating in party politics.

In the past year, a progressive activist group calling themselves Reclaim Idaho has invested substantial funds and labor into a ballot referendum to change Idaho’s electoral system so that they may participate in Republican Party politics without first registering as a Republican. For some time now, progressives have been changing their party affiliation every couple of years to nominate the most progressive Republicans they can identify. Between the election of 2020 and the midterm election of 2022, fifty-eight thousand unaffiliated voters dropped off the rolls of the Secretary of State, while forty-six thousand new Republicans registered. In a state where elections are often determined by mere thousands of votes, this provides an opportunity for deceitfully manipulating the political landscape of Idaho.

Because the Idaho Democrat Party has an open primary and Republicans have a closed primary, the only possible explanation for progressive attempts to force Idaho’s primaries open is that they wish to have undue influence in party politics where they don’t share party values. Do not be fooled, Idaho. The progressive expansionism of Portland and Seattle is knocking at our door, and it is up to us to send them packing.

This Op-Ed was submitted by Brian Parsons and originally published on Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

Amazon Outlet

Tags: Closed Primary, Constitution Party, Democratic Party, Green Party, Idaho, Libertarian Party, Living wage, Minimum wage, open primary, party platform, Politics, Portland, progressive expansionism, Reclaim Idaho, Republican Party, Seattle

7 thoughts on “Op-Ed: The Deceit of Open Primaries

  1. When closed primaries became a thing in Idaho, I was in support. No longer after seeing how “exclusive” the Republican Party has become. The purity testing and “vetting” (deetermining “worthiness to run for office”) of candidates should give pause to anyone actually considering today’s version of closed primaries. The way they were structured in 2012 was very different than what they have morphed into today under current party leadership. Ranked choice voting, no thanks, but, as things are turning out, the pre-2012 version of open primaries continues to look better all the time.

    1. That’s because you’re one of the leftists masquerading as a conservative. You’re an Ada County Commissioner and you control construction projects on the roads and quite frankly you’ve made a complete mess of it. I can’t go two miles from my home without having to detour around TWO major projects. And that number is down from FOUR only a couple of months ago. Your office is a disgrace for ripping out and closing roads and intersections needlessly and rebuilding roads four times (Lake Hazel).

      Yes, the Republican Party leadership has changed recently. Instead of being run by the “good old boys” network you are a part of, it is being run by a principled conservative in Dorothy Moon. The Chuck Winders, the Brad Littles, the Scott Bedkes – all Democrats in reality according to recent analysis – are being exposed for everyone to see. And prior “Republicans” like Tom Luna of “Common Core” infamy are being run out of town. And good riddance. I invite you to join them by retiring. Let’s get someone not only with solid principles in that office, but who doesn’t feel the need to “experiment” with Idaho’s roads and intersections (Victory and Cole?) for the sake of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.

  2. The real problem here is that these socalled primaries are run by the government but the rules are controlled for the most part by the parties. Why should all taxpayers even be forced to finance the selection of party endorsed candidates? Parties should chose their standard bearers by a privately funded process by whatever rules they want. We don’t need government prrimaries. We need reasonable rules for anyone, party sponsored or independent, to get on the General Election ballot. Then that election should be conducted with Ranked Choice Voting so that voters can vote their conscience without fear of wasting their vote or being accused of being “spoilers”.

    1. You can’t have primaries and also have “ranked choice” voting. They are antithetical systems which FORCE voters to give a vote for someone they would never vote for (through the ranking process). Real voting is _one vote_ for _one person_ not 1/2 a vote for that person, 1/3 a vote for that person, etc.

  3. “The progressive expansionism of Portland and Seattle is knocking at our door, and it is up to us to send them packing.” Absolutely true!

    First, the people need to recognize that our current “Establishment” Republican leaders are nothing more than Democrats! Little, Bedke, Winder and Luna — ALL part of the big charade! DO NOT BE FOOLED.

    Rank Choice Voting takes away OUR FIRST CHOICE VOTE! It is a complete sham and people need to understand that, as well. Open Republican Primaries only help the Democrats — These two parties are CLUBS and they have a right to their own rules. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT — DON’T JOIN! No one is disenfranchised. If an independent wants to vote Republican he can sign up as a Republican.

  4. Please believe that ranked voting is a true scam. Like betting horses….win, lose, draw. If you vote for anyone other than the #1, your vote eventually goes to the one who is #1 which unjustly inflates the count for #1. A truly rigged outcome.

  5. Two clowns came to our house with a petition on “open primaries.” I sent them packing. The no soliciting sign went up soon after. Primaries are part of the process for each party to pick their candidate. So called “open primaries” just lets the liberals throw their support to a rino. If we have bad candidates then that’s a problem in our house and we of like mind need to get our house in order. Don’t need no dems skewing the selection of our candidates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *