I’ve had a few friends recently lean into me and whisper, “I’m registering Republican.” They want to have a say in the upcoming May Republican primary. There are some significant races lining up on that ticket.
It’s a good thing these folks are making their decision now because the Republicans in the legislature are trying to make such a switch a bit harder for unaffiliated voters. Remember, if you have a party affiliation, under current Idaho law, you must declare your party affiliation by the end of the candidate filing period (mid March). But lots of Idahoans (about 35% of registered voters) don’t like being affiliated with a party, thus “unaffiliated”.
I don’t really know the partisan affiliations of the whisperers, but I know their politics, since they share them openly with me, usually over a beer. I warned them of the potential deadline, and they already knew about it.
Remember, the Idaho Republican Party sued the state in federal court to close their primary election and won back in 2011. Because of that lawsuit, Idaho law was changed to make all primaries closed unless a party specifically wants them open. When the law initially passed, you could go to the polls on primary election day in May and chose a ballot, but choosing a Republican ballot got you registered as a Republican. Idaho Democrats have always kept their primary open, not feeling the need to be selective, since party registration is 4:1 Republican: Democrat.
But Idaho Republicans thought voters should be surer of their affiliation, so the legislature passed a law requiring registered Democrats to switch in March, before the primary. Now they want to make unaffiliated voters decide then too. Next there will be a blood test.
All this makes me wonder why us taxpayers are even footing the bill for a primary election. Why shouldn’t the political parties pay for this selection process? Oh, that’s right, we used to do it that way. State conventions, smoke filled rooms, party “machines” used to be the how politics were done back in the 19th century. Somebody decided having the taxpayer foot the bill would get the corruption out of party politics. What do you think?
Well, I hope my whispering friends are happy with their new affiliation. I thought I would see just what Idaho Republicans stand for, since my beer drinking buddies will be some of them. You can read their party platform on their website. It runs fourteen pages. Might want to keep it on your bedstand if you have trouble dropping off some night.
Some of it was old hat to me. The part about getting rid of the 17th Amendment of the US Constitution was familiar. Idaho Republicans think we should go back to having state legislatures choose Senators, not by a popular vote.
And I knew about their desire to abolish the Federal Reserve and go back to the “gold and silver standard” for currency.
But I didn’t know the Idaho Republican Party didn’t endorse the Redistricting process that’s in the Idaho Constitution. I didn’t take it personally, but I was surprised to know that was in their platform.
But I’m a kind of health care nut so I was pleased to read this: We support freedom of choice and personal responsibility in all medical decisions, including providers and treatments.
But then that “freedom of choice” sentence was preceded by twenty sentences saying how all abortions should be illegal.
I think the Republican Party ranks may swell a bit for this coming primary election cycle. But I’ll bet there are some folks casting Republican ballots who won’t agree with those platform positions. Heck, there’s probably a few Republicans in the legislature and statewide office that don’t.
I’ll be voting in the Democratic primary. Then I’ll go have a beer with the other two or three of us. Maybe some Republicans will join us. They’re welcome.