Monday, April 14, 2014

Here's Why I'll Register as A Republican

If the Idaho Republican Party wants me to register as a Republican in order to vote for Republican candidates in the May primaries, so be it. I won’t let the extreme wing of any party take away my right to vote as I see fit.

Here’s what’s going to happen, right-wing Republicans, at least as far as my vote is concerned.
I will register as a Republican, to be sure. Here’s theprocess for those of you who are interested. You may declare a party affiliation as you sign the roll to vote if you are currently unaffiliated with any party, as the majority of Idaho voters are.

Go here to find out if you’re affiliated or not. (Click on “Am I Registered” and enter your full name and birthdate.)

There’s the method. Now, on to the madness:

The current right-wing candidate, Bryan King, seems determined to label Rep. Mike Simpson as a Republican in Name Only – a RINO. That’s well and good. He and the right wing of the Republican Party are entitled to their opinion.

What they’re not entitled to is preventing unaffiliated individuals such as I from voting for RINOs if we want to. I will register as a Republican at the primary, declaring out loud as I do so that I register “under protest.” I will vote for Rep. Mike Simpson, the so-called RINO. Your attempt to keep out the mudbloods will fail, as far as my vote is concerned.

I am an independent voter. I do not wholly identify with either of our two major political parties. I sag in the middle, you might say. I lean to the right on some issues, and lean to the left on other issues. That is how I am and no attempt at party purity from any party will sway me from my views.

And Democrats, while I think it’s admirable that you’re keeping your primary open and allowing anyone of any political stripe to vote for whomever their conscience dictates,  that openness doesn’t fix the problem unless both sides in the sandbox want to play. Registering as a Republican allows me the full slate of candidates to choose from, allowing me to keep my independence as a voter intact.
How is that, you may ask? Aren’t I selling part of my soul by registering under protest with a party with whose views I don’t swallow wholesale?

No. It makes more sense than remaining unaffiliated and casting what surely will become nothing more than a protest vote. And I’ve cast plenty of protest votes. I’ve voted for Ralph Nader for president, for heaven’s sake.

But that’s my right, as an independent voter. I can throw my vote away ANY WAY I WANT TO. And if registering as a Republican gives me access to an additional trash can, well, so much the better.
Yes, this tactic labels me, in spirit, as a hated RINO (and worse, given what I’ve just said about Obamacare). And maybe it labels me as a spineless sellout in the eyes of some Democrats and fellow independents. Funny thing is, I’m not in this whole voting thing in the first place to chum up to any party or any bloc of voters. I’m in it for me. I want to vote my conscience, the way our nation set things up.

If the Republican Party wants a slew of RINOs now on the books as Republicans, that’s their business, not mine. RINOS will vote no matter how much the right wing of the Republican Party thinks they can maintain that blood purity.

If the Democrats want more independents to vote for their candidates, they need to do more than set up a weak appeal to voters who want to remain unaffiliated.

Democrats have represented us in Idaho’s second congressional district before (including by their current candidate Richard Stallings who beat Dane Watkins in a run for the House of Representatives in 1988, which is a pretty good reason in my book to vote for Mr. Stallings). I have yet, however, in this election cycle to hear from the Democrats why I should vote for their candidate. But there’s still time to convince me. I’m an independent voter, after all.

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