A move is afoot to close the primaries in Tennessee and I wholeheartedly support this move.
I admit that I have often voted in the Democratic Primary, usually the Davidson County primary but sometimes the State primary as well. Most of the time, there is not even a Davidson County Republican County primary and if one wants a voice in who holds the Courthouse seats, one has to vote in the Democratic Primary. When I have voted in the Democratic Primary, I have usually voted for the most conservative Democrat. I suspect there are some closet Republicans holding office as Democrats in Nashville.
The effect of Republicans like myself voting in the Democratic primary is that by doing so we fail to build a Republican Party. Davidson County is a one-party town and unless primaries are closed it is likely to stay a one-party town. In much of East Tennessee the situation is reversed and many Democrats vote in Republican primaries. Also, if one Party's campaign is already pretty much a sure thing and the outcome can easily be predicted, members of that party are tempted to vote in the primary of the opposition Party where there is a real contest.
Republicans should not be allowed to choose the Democratic Party's nominee and Democrats should not be allowed to choose the Republican nominee. Moderates and independents will not like this move but anyone who believes the Parties should represent a set of clear values and present the public a clear choice should support it.
Below is the facebook announcement of this move and a copy of the proposed resolution. Mark Winslow is a member of the Republican Party State Executive Committee.
Standing Up for Tennessee Republicans
WHEREAS Tennesseans, on November 2, 2010, clearly and resoundingly affirmed their desire that conservative values are the guiding principles they wish to determine the future direction of our state.
WHEREAS the vote on November 2 completed a sixteen year transformation of Republicans to majority status in Tennessee.
WHEREAS the clearly voiced positions of Tennessee Republicans in favor of sound fiscal practices, respect for the value of human life, defense of our Second Amendment rights and opposition to a state income tax are the view of the majority of Tennesseans.
WHEREAS Tennessee law now permits participation in Republican primaries by those who do not act in the best interest of our party and the Republicans we represent.
WHEREAS the diminished status of the Democrat Party in Tennessee has lead to increased instances of coordinated crossover voting in Republican primaries with intent to influence Republican elections.
WHEREAS the bylaws of the Tennessee Republican Party are vague on the ability of non-Republicans to participate and influence the election of county party officers and committees.
WHEREAS a growing majority status for Republicans has resulted in increased participation and influence over county Republican conventions and caucuses by non-Republicans.
WHEREAS legislation to require voter registration in Tennessee has been proposed for the past three sessions of the General Assembly without moving to a vote of the full House and Senate.
WHEREAS it is the responsibility of the State Executive Committee to protect and promote participation in county party elections and Republican primaries by those who believe in the principles of the Republican Party.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by The State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party, in our capacity as the Republican State Primary Board, that we hereby adopt the official position that Tennessee should move to a system of registration by party.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the State Executive Committee adopts the position that participation in state primary elections, federal primary elections and county organization should be limited to those registering to vote in the party of their choice.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the State Executive Committee directs the Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party to convey adoption of this position to the Governor of Tennessee, The Leadership of the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Leadership of the Tennessee Senate by transmitting a copy of this resolution to all Legislators Elected as Republicans serving in the 107th General Assembly as well as Governor Haslam. We further direct the Chairman to work with the Office of the Governor and the Legislature to promote this important matter and ensure its passage into law.
For other views:
Pick a Team @ Kay Brooks
TN GOP SEC to be Presented with Plan to Close Primaries@ Blue Collar Muse
TN GOP SEC to Consider Closed Primaries by Brian Hornback @ Brian’s Blog
They are Open if You’re Republican or Democrat by Stacy Campfield @ Camp4U