Sunday, September 12, 2010

"No" to crossing over -- why this progressive won't vote in the WI Republican primary

Tuesday is primary election day. Democrats will vie with other Democrats, and Republicans will vie with other Republicans, for the official party nominations for various offices up for grabs in the general election in November.

In the governor's race specifically, Democratic candidate Tom Barrett faces no real challenge; he's expected to win his party's nomination with no trouble at all. The GOP race, on the other hand, is shaping up to be something else.

Scott Walker and Mark Neumann are involved in one of the most heated primary battles this state has seen in some time. Neumann is a former Congressman and businessman (he couldn't stress the latter enough) while Walker has been Milwaukee County Executive for the better part of the last decade, and before that a member of the State Assembly.

Walker has criticized Neumann for not being a true conservative (he crossed party lines to help balance the budget with Democrats during his time in Congress) while Neumann accuses Walker of being a "career politician" -- a label I handily reject as being a negative thing, though I do find other things wrong with the candidacy of Scott Walker (2) (3).

Why does this matter? For the better part of a week, I have been contemplating voting in the Republican primary versus giving my vote to Barrett, who will undoubtedly win on Tuesday night the Democratic Party's endorsement for governor.

Wisconsin has an open primary, which means that you don't have to belong to a political party in order to vote in their primary. This CAN lead to Democrats voting in Republican primaries, and Republicans voting in Democratic ones as well, causing a messy outcome if so desired by those respective camps.

So, if I wanted to, I could vote for Neumann over Walker, because frankly Neumann is the candidate I would support more. In the general, no matter which Republican wins however, I will vote for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Which made me question whether I should really be participating in the GOP primary. On the one hand, if it boils down to these three candidates, and if I ranked each one, it would make sense for me to take part in it. Barrett is my top choice -- but if I have to choose between the other two, Neumann would squeak by Walker as my choice for governor. In that sense, I'd rather have my top two choices running against each other rather than my preferred choice vs. my least preferred choice.

On the other hand, would it be morally sound for me to do such a thing? I have no real intention of supporting Neumann whatsoever. My supporting him in the primary would simply be to ensure that the least favorite of my choices would have a tougher primary election to win. But is it RIGHT for me to take part in an election that, open or not, is designed for those who are Republican-leaning voters to choose their desired candidate?

In my mind, it is not. I have to consider the fact that, were it the other way around, I would see a conservative voting in a Democratic primary as trying to spoil the desires of progressives, who would want a certain candidate to represent them in the general election. Morally, it isn't right help determine the opposing side's candidate if it's going to be a candidate I will want to lose in the end. It'd be like personally setting up an amateur boxer to fight against Evander Holyfield, and then, after encouraging that amateur to indeed face him, betting on Holyfield once the date of the event came upon my calendar.

After coming to this realization, I determined that I can't and won't participate in the Republican primary come Tuesday. It wouldn't be right, it wouldn't be fair, and it wouldn't be moral. I will proudly cast my ballot for progressive candidates that I feel will represent Wisconsin in a positive and meaningful way, including Mayor Barrett for governor. I encourage my progressive colleagues, who may be considering voting in the Republican primary as well, to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. That's why I won't be crossing over no matter how much I want to vote for my friend Brett. It will be Walker and Ross for me.