Feb 21 2019
01:17 am

How about you quit trying to restrict my vote

Holt brought the bill — sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) — after the Tennessee Republican Party voted last year to endorse such a proposal, which would limit primary elections in the state to those who register as a member of that party at least a month before the vote.

Closed Primaries Bill Moves Forward

Bill to close primaries, require voter registration by party in Tennessee advances

Perry Aubric's picture

Back at You

How about you stay out of a party primary if you aren't a member of that party?

JaHu's picture

It's kinda unfair to someone

It's kinda unfair to someone who doesn't want to associate themselves with a party but who may like a certain candidate.

Bbeanster's picture

Better still, abolish party

Better still, abolish party primaries. Taxpayers shouldn't have to finance political parties and election commissions should be free pf partisan politics. The whole system stinks.

Knoxoasis's picture



Mike Daugherty's picture

Sounds like a step in the

Sounds like a step in the right direction. Public financing of political parties gives the Democratic and Republican candidates a tremendous advantage. Our two party system's stranglehold on elections has discouraged many qualified independent minded candidates. It would be refreshing and more democratic (small d) to have a system where we had several candidates that were viable in the general election. It would encourage a lot more participation. Voters would think that their vote counted because their candidate had a chance. The millions spent by taxpayers on party primaries could be better spent providing media coverage of all candidates that meet certain standards. The public could hear from all candidates including Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Social Democrats, Independents etc. This would level the playing field for many women and men who have superior qualifications but do not have the organizational and financial advantage of belonging to the two major parties. Of course if that happened, we would most likely abandon the two party system we have had for over two hundred years and that would not be bad. Election commissions should be free of partisan politics. How can the way our County election commission is set up not be biased and undemocratic? It does not make sense. Also, there should be non-partisan elections for all local officeholders.

cwg's picture

Bill dead

This bill died yesterday. As like everyone on the Hill knew would happen.

Edit: Did not mean to post as threaded response but can't seem to change this?

Somebody's picture

Our constitutional structure

Our constitutional structure naturally leads to a two-party system. Although the Constitution doesn't say it outright, it's nonetheless baked in. There's really no way for our system to have "several candidates that were viable in the general election."

In the English multiparty parliamentary system, citizens vote for local members of Parliament. If one party gets a majority of seats, that party's leader becomes Prime Minister and forms the government. If no party wins a majority, the one with a plurality will try to form a coalition with one or more third parties that have overlapping or shared priorities. Then the leader of the major party within the coalition becomes Prime Minister, and the other party or parties in the coalition government gain some influence. It's important to note that the leaders of the smaller third parties don't get to become Prime Minister. I'll say that again. Even in this multiparty scenario, third-party MPs don't get to be Prime Minister. It just doesn't happen.

In the US system, the Executive is elected separately from the legislature. There are no coalitions formed after the election in order to pick a President. Even filtered through the Electoral College, if there's no majority win, the House of Representatives chooses the president from the top three candidates. The prospect of a third-party candidate winning the presidency is hopelessly remote.

Instead, it is far more likely that a third-party candidate with any traction will just siphon votes from the major-party candidate with the most shared values, throwing the election to the major-party candidate with the least in common with the third-party spoiler. We've seen it happen, and it's ugly. There is really no practical way to avoid that, short of completely re-writing the Constitution.

In the end, however, it's important to remember that even the multiparty parliamentary system doesn't produce third-party executives either. In the US system, third-party interests would be better served by actively seeking to influence the platform of one or the other of the two major parties prior to the election. For instance, AOC yields far more influence right now as a freshman Democrat than she ever would if she were to run for President as a third-party candidate.

Bernie Sanders never got enough votes to win, but his candidacy as a Democrat has clearly influenced the 2018 mid-terms as well as a number of issues heading into 2020. Perhaps if he had been more enthusiastic in supporting the nominee in 2016, he'd have been able to influence the priorities enacted over the past two years with a Clinton presidency. Had he run as a third party candidate, however, he'd have just assured a Trump win either on election day or in the House after creating a three-way Electoral split.

Likewise, if Donald Trump had run in 2016 as an independent, he would have either sunk the Republican nominee and elected Clinton, or if he siphoned off enough votes from both sides, thrown the election to the House, which again would have elected the Republican. Instead, Trump ran as a Republican, took the party over and has now fundamentally altered many platform positions, such as trade, international alliances, deficit spending, etc.

So instead of fantasizing about the political unicorns that are 'viable third party candidates,' let's really use the primaries to set our priorities. The Democrats have a large field of candidates who are the most diverse in history. Let's hear them out and use the process to choose a good candidate and form the winning coalition before the general election, and then actually turn out to support whoever that candidate is.

JaHu's picture

I just read that the RNC is

I just read that the RNC is thinking of forgoing their republican primaries in many states! Won't this decision benefit the Democrats?

If the Democrats still hold their primaries, this would mean during the main elections the Republicans will be splitting their votes between many candidates while the Democrats will only have one candidate to vote for. Am I correct in thinking this?

Knoxoasis's picture

No. It would mean the general

No. It would mean the general election candidate would be selected at a Party convention, the way things used to be done.

JaHu's picture

So the voters wouldn't have

So the voters wouldn't have any say deciding so which candidate that would be. It would totally be decided by each party at their convention. I assume a candidate could still go against their party and run, but would probably be ostracized?

Knoxoasis's picture

Well they wouldn't be the

Well they wouldn't be the Party's nominee. So they would have to run as independent.

JaHu's picture

So its really beginning to

So its really beginning to look like the republican party really wants Trump to destroy democracy in the US!

Knoxoasis's picture

I would refer you to Betty's

I would refer you to Betty's comment above. Political parties are private corporate entities that are in the business of getting people elected. While the Democratic Party and Republican Party have little in common, one thing they do have in common is a desire to lock everyone else out of the process. So while they collude in utilizing taxpayer funds to determine who their respective nominees will be, no such privilege is extended to the Greens, Libertarians or any other "third party" political entity. The Greens and Libertarians and everyone else select their nominees through Party conventions - is that a destruction of Democracy? It may be that the RNC wants to grease the skids for Trump, but there's nothing at all unusual about a Party protecting the current President. Primary challenges almost never turn out well for the Party (ask Jimmy Carter) and it makes sense that the Party would discourage them.

Democracy comes in the general election. Everything before that is just intra-party maneuvering. What stinks is that the Dems and Repubs make you pay for theirs.

JaHu's picture

Thank you! Great explanation!

Thank's for the great explanation! Now the question is, how would one go about convincing (or forcing) the two major parties to do away with primaries since they pretty much control the election process?

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