Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cross-Over Voting…

Michael Moore indicates all his friends in his native Michigan are voting in the Republican primary today for...Rick Santorum.
Any registered voter, independent, Democrat, or Republican, can vote in the Republican primary in Michigan (though not in AZ).
This has led to “strategic voting.” And Romney is complaining. It’s a close race and Romney doesn’t want to lose because of Santorum’s Democratic “support.” Statistical analyzes indicate as much as 10% of the votes in Michigan’s race might come from Independents and Democrats. Of these votes, as much as one-half would likely be cast for Santorum. In second place, with about one-fifth, is Ron Paul.
While Romney began complaining quite loudly on MI Primary Day about the unfairness of cross-over voting, Santorum correctly noted he didn’t complain in New Hampshire when he was the one benefitting from cross-over votes.
This is very much what upsets a growing number of voters, and Americans generally: the way these candidates for President change principles like they change ties. Sometimes, as with ties, they seem to wear none at all…
Of course, one can also complain of the lack of principle shown by the voters themselves if they engage in “strategic voting.” Michael Moore’s friends are voting for Santorum not because they like Santorum or what he stands for--no doubt they loathe him--but because they think, rightly or wrongly, that Obama can more easily best Santorum than Romney in November.
And here we get to the meat of the issue, overlooked so far by media reports on this topic. There is a MAJOR difference between Democrats and Independents crossing over in Michigan to vote for different GOP candidates.
The vast majority of Democrats voting in the GOP primary for Santorum are voting as a strategy. The vast majority of Democrats and Independents voting in the GOP primary for Paul are voting as a principle.
What’s the difference? The Democrats voting in Michigan on 2/28/12 for Santorum have no intention of voting for him in November. They are strict Obama voters. The Democrats and Independents voting in Michigan on 2/28/12 for Paul mostly want to vote for Paul in November. They are NOT strict Obama voters.
So one sad tale the Michigan primary vote tells is that even as we are burying ourselves under mountains of debt, as we look at Greece and reasonably wonder if we’re next, more people are still willing to vote strategically rather than on principle. And when you think about it, that’s not a very good strategy in the long run...