Sunday, April 24, 2016

Is it Unfair Independents Can't Vote in NY Primary?

Full disclosure--I prefer Bernie Sanders head and shoulders over all other Presidential candidates. Lately I've been hearing and reading from a lot of people who think the NY State primary system is unfair. After all, only Democrats can vote in the Democratic primaries, and only Republicans can vote in the GOP primaries. Is that unfair?

I don't think so, actually. I'm a registered Democrat, but only because it allows me to vote in the primary. There is nothing stopping anyone else who'd like to vote in the primary from registering. It's not like you have to be invited to be a party member. It's not like I'm enjoying any special privileges because of my affiliation.

It's not like the UFT system where you have to be invited and sign a loyalty oath to be a party member. (Hey, that's a little reminiscent of communist societies where parties are elite and members have special privileges, isn't it?)

I distinctly recall Sanders supporters urging people to register as a Democrat so as to be able to vote in the primaries. In fact, I have a Republican friend who changed parties simply so he could vote for Bernie. If you waited until primary day to try to vote, only to find you hadn't registered as a Democrat, that's kind of on you. As long as the rules apply to everyone, they're fair.

I'm more upset with the idea that we have to register to vote. If I'm not mistaken, Bernie thinks everyone should automatically be registered and you ought to have to opt out only if you don't want to vote. I know, for example, Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in voting, and they ought to have the right to opt out. But registration ought to be the default.

Hey, if you want to register as a Democrat, go ahead. It doesn't cost anything, and it doesn't oblige you to vote for every Democrat that comes down the pike. When they presented me with Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who ran on a platform of going after unions, I knew he wasn't getting my vote. I discovered Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, for whom I've now twice voted. And after Barack Obama gave GW Bush a third term in education, I discovered Jill Stein of the Green Party. Maybe I'll vote for her again in November.

In some states, everyone's allowed to vote in the primaries. I recall reading of Republicans voting for Al Sharpton in order to screw with Democrats. I'm not really sure that's a great idea. I don't want to vote just to spite someone, and I don't really want people to vote just to spite me either.

Hey, if you want to register Democrat in New York State, go right ahead. Maybe this election cycle was a learning experience for some independents. And hey, I'd have loved to see Bernie beat Hillary. But we're all grownups here. I know the rules. If you don't, that's not really Hillary's fault. She didn't make the rules.

Maybe independents ought to be able to choose which primary they vote in. I think that's what they do in California. But the time to discuss that, and particularly the time to change the rules, if that's what it takes, is not right after a primary with results that disappointed you. 

I still support Bernie. I don't mind if you don't. After all, it's still nominally a free country. One thing, though--I've had it up to here with being called a "Bernie Bro" for not supporting Hillary. That's stereotypical and ignorant. Anyone who has to resort to ad hominem hasn't got much of an argument.

Of course, if it's true that 125,000 Democratic voters were systematically purged, that's another story altogether. 
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