You Can’t Change The Rules In The Middle Of The Game

There was a story in Wednesday’s  NY Post about potential issues at polling places.  Mainly, that independents are suddenly realizing that New York has a closed primary, and they’re not going to be able to vote in the upcoming primary.  That means that only those registered as Democrats or Republicans are going to get to vote in their party’s primary.

In a previous post, I argued that we needed more closed primaries, and primaries instead of caucuses.  The reasons were quite simple:

You have Democrats crossing over to try to sabotage a Republican candidate and vice versa, and you have independents all over the map. Each party is selecting its candidate, and that person should be picked by the people who belong to that party.(bolding added)

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that lives here that  New York has closed primaries. Which is why I’m not sympathetic to statements like this:

“Many, many people will be shut out of voting in what very well may be the most important election in a generation in New York state,” said Jeremy Gruber, senior vice president at Open Primaries, a nonpartisan group organizing the New York rally.

“No one should have to join a party to exercise their right to vote,” he added. “We’re a democracy.”

Wrong.  This is about two political parties determining who their membership (the people who bothered to register in that party) want to run as that party’s candidate.  I know of no organizations that feel obligated to let non-members vote on their rules or officers, and it’s the same thing for a political party.   It’s also not “the most important election in a generation,” that one comes in November, and yes, then you will get to vote.

But why wouldn’t I have any sympathy? I first registered vote, and as a Democrat 41 years ago.  In that entire time, I’ve never seen an open primary, and I’ve never seen independents complaining about it being closed.  In fact, they generally fail to show up at the polls on a regular basis to begin with.  But if you want to change parties, the rules have been the same for decades.  You get to do it once a year,  it must be received 25 days before the general election, and it takes effect a week after the general election.  In other words, if you wanted to change parties for this year’s primaries, you had to do it by October 9’th of last year.  It’s on the state board of elections website, and there were even news stories about it back then.

If you wanted a voice in who the Republicans or Democrats will nominate as their candidate, you should have registered in that party.  If you couldn’t be bothered to do that, or bothered to do some quick web searches about changing party registration, then you’ll get your chance to vote on them in November.  Could the requirements about changing parties be changed?  Sure, for future elections with some changes in state law.  But they’re not going to change now.   You see, you don’t get to change the rules in the middle of a game, and you don’t get to change them in the middle of an election season.  You have to wait for after the season ends before you can decide on changes for next season.  No, complaining about won’t work.



Filed under Politics, Uncategorized

8 responses to “You Can’t Change The Rules In The Middle Of The Game

  1. I got into a discussion about this with someone who could not wrap their minds around this fact: the party supporters get to choose the party’s candidate. If you want to vote, register. Actually, you don’t even have to like the party and you can throw away all the requests for donations you’ll receive; if you want to have a say in the primary, register. I was told that there was no way he was going to be forced to join an illegal cartel just to be able to vote. Illegal cartel, you ask? Why yes, there is nothing in the Constitution about parties and we should destroy both parties who had made this illegal power grab. I guess I am just a whore for the Illegal Democratic cartel.

    Thank so much for this article. Thanks soooooo much. I teach second graders so I am quite familiar with the ‘rules don’t apply me” gambit, but it’s really discouraging to find it in a national campaign – coming from someone who is theoretically on my side of the ledger, even if he’s only a Democrat -for-a-Day. Also, I have more success in reasoning logically with my second graders.

    • Sounds like one of Ron Paul people who decided that Bernie is the latest iteration. I heard the same rhetoric from them back in 2008 and 2012, and it’s amazing how none of them ever appear at the voting booth for midterms, or even the general election.

  2. I will add “Illegal Cartel Democratic Whore” to the mix. I had a ‘conversation’ with a Sanders’ supporter about the New York primaries. I tried to make the point that it’s appropriate that Democrats choose the candidate to represent their party,he insisted that he had been denied his right to vote. I said he could vote in the general, but that wasn’t good enough for him. I said if he wanted to vote he could join a party. He didn’t have to like the party, but if he was that desperate to vote in the primary, he could. He said no one could force him into joining a party; both parties are illegal cartels, unconstitutional of course, and have been executing this criminal power grab for lo, these many years.

    Say it loud, “I’m a Whore for the Illegal Democratic Cartel, and I’m proud!”)

    • That’s why I said that no other organizations feel obligated to let non-members vote. As to the “power grab,” political parties formed almost right out of the gate, so while there were a few “no political parties” idealists among the Founding Fathers, the practical reality they had was that there were political parties.

      • nathkatun7

        First, great post as always! Second, no one is forced to run as either a Democrat or a Republican. Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders could have chosen to run for president as independents or as members of a myriad parties such as the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Constitutional Natural Law party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party, U.S.A., etc., etc.! It is pure arrogance for people who do not belong to either the Democratic or the Republican Party to insist on the right to chose candidates to represent the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.

  3. dbtheonly

    Would disagree only to the extent that this is not a new phenomenon.
    Every two years the term election and nominating primary get confused, and the independents come out of the woodwork and want to tell us who we should run for office.

    I’d add tha,t for me, registering as a party member is not hard. When I registered to vote, they asked if I’d like to join a political party. Had I ever been tempted to change, it merely would have entailed telling the Board of Elections sufficiently ahead of a voting day so they’d have time to get me off the one list and onto the other.

    Ms. Mary, I’d never call you a whore. Not me. Just couldn’t find it in me to do so.

    But, if political parties are unconstitutional because they are not mentioned in the Constitution, are telephones also unconstitutional?

    • The Constitution also didn’t mention the internet, cell phones, radio, television, and airplanes. Obviously, illegal.

      • dbtheonly

        Well yes,

        But you saw where my big fingers typing on my small phone lead to a typo. Assume I’d type, “including but certainly not limited to,” any time I make a list.

        President Washington didn’t like the idea of political parties, but he was thinking more along the lines of those currently existing in Britain. Even he consulted with his like minded friends.

        I don’t know whether it’s funny or sad to see how the issues of the early 20th Century are being re-fought again, today. President Roosevelt was attacked, in 1904, for taking corporate donations. Though I shudder to think what might have happened if someone had dared call him a “corporate whore” to his face.

        Though I am really put off by the games the Republicans are playing to try to deny their nomination to Donald Trump. If you’re going to hold a primary, the party is rather bound to respect the wishes of its members as reflected in the vote.