Before I delve in, I want us to define a few terms.
Democratic Socialist: Not a socialist. Not a communist. Someone who believes in democracy (government elected by eligible citizens) and social programs (policemen, roads, army, firemen).
Closed Primary: An election where the candidates are chosen to run in a general election, but only voters registered for a specific party can vote for that party. For example, only Republicans can vote Republican. Only Democrats can vote Democrat. Unaffiliated voters (like independents) are not allowed to participate.
Right, so we’re back in, right? We understand a closed primary? Let me tell you a story. I have a friend who moved to NY a month ago. He’s always voted Republican before just like me, but now is voting for Bernie Sanders. When he initially signed up for a party on his driver’s license application, he checked Republican (it’s tradition and blah blah blah).
He texted me a week before the NY primary, enraged that it was a closed primary and that he couldn’t cast his vote for Bernie. He had moved just in time to register to vote, but not enough to change his party. Some may say, too bad, so sad, wrong party, should’ve done his research. I say the system is rigged and a bunch of bullshit. How dare the government restrict our votes that way? What the fuck does it matter other than voters can’t vote for certain candidates. It’s WRONG.
And my friend isn’t the only one with the problem. Look at all the states that utilize a closed primary and then tell me our voting system is fair:
- Alabama (Democrats only)
- District of Columbia
- Idaho (Republicans only)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Oklahoma (Republicans only)
- South Dakota (Republicans only)
- Utah (Republicans only)
That’s 28 goddamn states. That’s ridiculous. This does not preserve party association and prevent members from crossing over, it just stops votes in its tracks.
Not only does a closed primary system exacerbate radicalization, as candidates must cater to a party’s base, which is more extreme rather than politically balanced, but it also excludes unaffiliated voters. This disenfranchises those voters from participating in the election at all. Once candidates have been elected from the primary, they change the focus of their campaigns to appeal to a broader electorate. That promotes dishonesty and deceives primary voters from the campaign’s true intent.