The Democrats Closed Their Primary
No, the headline isn’t a mistake, the Democrats really did close their primaries, as did the Republicans and every other state party. A “closed” primary means that to vote in a primary with a particular party, you must be a member of that party. You cannot be an unaffiliated voter and vote in a primary.
Currently, you don’t need to be affiliated for anything more than a few minutes or even seconds, depending on how long it takes you to choose a party, vote and then disaffiliate. Some may think they are an “independent” but that doesn’t exist as a party in RI. If you’re not affiliated with a party, you’re listed as a U or “unaffiliated”.
So that’s really the question here, how long must you be affiliated with a party in order to vote in its primary. One party, the Republicans, are discussing lengthening the amount of time that you need to be an affiliated Republican before the primary, in order to vote in the primary. Keep in mind that in the general election, not the primary, you can vote for whomever you want, regardless of the candidate’s party affiliation and regardless of your own party affiliation.
The whole point of primaries is so the party can choose who they feel is their best candidate to win in the general election. Many people feel they should be able to choose any candidate in the primaries. That’s not how it works. Political parties are supposed to be groups of like-minded people who work together to put forth similar-thinking candidates. This isn’t supposed to be for any person to just show up on election day and decide who should be the standard-bearer for the party. That’s what the general election is for. On the day of the general election is when it is time for everyone to vote for anyone they’d like.
I guess the question I’d ask anyone who has a problem with this is why do you want to choose the candidate for a party that you don’t want to be affiliated with? If you don’t want to affiliate with a party, why should you be one of the people to choose who to send to the general election? Let me repeat, the general election is different from the primary. Your party affiliation does not matter in the general election, you can vote for anyone in any party in the general election. This is only about the primary.
It would seem that if you don’t like what the Republicans are suggesting, you have two choices, affiliate as a Republican or simply wait until the general election and then choose the best remaining candidate for each seat. However, holding the party’s decision on a closed primary against the candidate is cutting off your nose to spite your face. I implore you to choose the best available candidate in the general election, regardless of party.