David Rodeback's Blog

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
About that Closed Republican Primary

Is it good or bad that you have to be a Republican to vote in a Republican primary in Utah?

The other day, I went to a restaurant in Layton -- Red Lobster, if you must know. What if things had gone as follows?

The waitress led me and my two lunch companions to our table and gave us our menus. Later, she came back for our orders. In a loud voice she summoned the attention of every diner in her section, about 20 people scattered at a dozen or so tables.

"Listen up, everyone. This gentlemen is about to order. What do you think he should have for lunch?"

It was put to a vote. I wanted the salmon, but I was outvoted. They decided I would have the crab salad something-or-other and a selection of clams and oysters.

Service was fairly swift, not that it mattered. I hate shellfish -- except little bits of meat in my chowder -- and I vigorously dislike any salad that involves mayonnaise. But at least the water and garlic rolls were good. I wasn't about to "order" dessert.

You might question my analogy's validity. After all, I'm the only one who eats my lunch, whereas candidates in a primary, if they win the primary and later the general election (a big if), govern everyone. No analogy is perfect, I admit -- but rest assured, if the restaurant (or chain) decides that not enough patrons are ordering an item, it will disappear from the menu, and then no one will be able to order it. So your criticism of my analogy isn't perfect, either.

Members of a political party organize, do a lot of work, collect contributions from people who want to support a given party's candidates, and spend money on their candidates. Why should anyone else have a say in a party's selection of its candidates?

Some insist that both party members and voters with no partisan affiliation should be able to vote in a partisan primary. But if they're not paying the check or doing the eating, what right do they have to choose my lunch for me? If they feel that this leaves them out of the process, then they should get in the process in some legitimate manner, such as joining a party and trying to change it from the inside, or forming their own party.

Maybe I'm just a hard case, a throwback. I'm the sort of guy who thinks the government should not pay benefits to illegal aliens, and other men should not be invited to sleep with one's wife.

Just say no to open primaries.

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