Convention or Primary for 2013 VA Statewide Republicans?
I’ve heard it said that convention is for conservatives and primary is for moderates or ‘Rinos’. At least that is what is coming from the so called “constitutional conservative” wing of the Republican Party. They further claim that conventions favor, and are for, the party stalwarts, the party faithful, and that primaries are skewed by Democrats crossing over.
It is true that by not having party registration it is easier for some Democrats to vote in our Republican primaries. History has shown that when this has happened, the crossover typically is less than 5% of the vote.
But what of conventions, how do we keep the Democrats out? I have heard that Democrat participation in some of our conventions has run as high as 30% or more. Just what is conservative about an AG candidate inviting pro-life and pro 2nd amendment Democrats to vote for him at the Republican convention, or for that matter, a 10th CD chairman candidate inviting Democrats to vote for him at the District convention?
Crossover voting would be largely curtailed if we had party registration and, as it occurs now, in either process is really a moot point to argue.
A more important point to explore is disenfranchisement. Which process favors participation from the greatest number of Republican citizens? To participate in a statewide convention you must be able to:
1. Travel several hours to and from the convention
2. Get the day off from work
3. Afford the expense of travel and perhaps an over-night stay
4. Hope it is not on Saturday or Sunday if it is your Sabbath
5. Give up a full day or more to vote
6. Not be traveling or outside of the state or country
7. Stay healthy and not get sick or have some other health problem
8. Endure long hours and distances afoot or
9. Hope you are not military because you are barred from participation.
To participate in a primary you need to be able to spare a few minutes to vote at your local polling place. If any of the above problems prevent that, you can cast an absentee ballot, even if you are military.
Some folks have maintained that cost is a factor. They say that a primary costs more than a convention. They are correct, but then in a primary many times the number of people are able to participate and the cost per participant is actually much less.
“We the people”, at least the Republicans voting in a primary would have our voices heard in greater numbers and across many walks of life and economic circumstances. A primary, I believe, embodies the “Tea Party” spirit more than a convention, especially at a statewide level. It allows greater grassroots participation and is less prone to manipulation.
No matter how you spin it, a convention favors insiders, is exclusionary by nature, can be fraught with hanky-panky, minimizes participation in the electoral process, excludes the military completely, and is a top down process.
I urge the State Central Committee to sustain the 2013 Primary for Statewide Offices, thereby avoiding the perception of manipulating the process and excluding large numbers of the grassroots and our Nation’s defenders.
Also, regardless of the nominating process you favor, we should all be concerned about keeping it a Republican process. A resolution urging the General Assembly to take up and pass a Party Registration bill would go a long way toward unifying our party.