Tomorrow, voters in Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District will (or can) vote on whether the Democrat nominee will be the incumbent Cynthia McKinney or the challenger Hank Johnson. (No candidate won more than 50% in the primary last month; this one is a runoff between the two top finishers.) That’s all the voters, not just registered Dems – Georgia has an “open primary” system. McKinney – one of the most outspoken Bush critics in Congress – accuses the Pubs of meddling in the election and funding her opponent. Is that true? Is it acceptable?
I really don’t understand how open primaries work. If Joe Republican votes in the Democratic primary, can he also vote in the Democratic primary? I always assumed (although I don’t know) that the answer was “no” and that was what made the open primary system workable. Am I correct in that assumption?
Washington state used to have an open primary until a few years ago.
The way it worked was just like any other election. There would be one ballot with a list of candidates for a position, several Ds, several Rs, maybe one L or one G and a couple of socialist maoist judean people’s front parties. You voted for one candidate of your choice. The D with the most votes was the D candidate, the R with the most votes was the R candidate.
This way you could mix and match your votes…vote in the D primary for one position, in the R primary for another position.
Nowadays you have to ask for either a D ballot or an R ballot, and your only choices will be among the members of the party you chose. But you can ask for any ballot you want.
That outsiders are probably involved with “meddling” in the campaign is almost certainly true–and is probably true for McKinney as well as for Johnson. It si the nature of American politics to seek whatever help one can get, regardless the source. Since the winner of this primary has a decent chance to be the next U.S. Representative for that district, it stands to reason that both McKinney and Johnson will find resources on the national level who will support them, providing money, campaign expertise, and, perhaps, personal appearances by speakers from outside the district or state who will champion their causes. On that level, Ms. McKinney is simply playing the role of underdog to enhance her status, but claiming outside “interference.” (If she has less support from outside her district or state than Johnson, it probably has more to do with her frequent displays of idiocy than some major plot against her due to her race, sex, or political convictions.*)
A separate issue is the open voting allowed. Since the vote is to perform the duties of the specific politiacl party to which she belongs, my personal view is that open voting in primaries is a bad thing, regardless the motives. Open voting permits persons outside the party to make a decision that affects the choices of the party members. While there is no provision for parties in the Constitution, they are clearly a part of government as it has evolved in the U.S. Seen as a collection of people who are attempting to unite to establish policy in the country (state, county, city, township), permitting other people to interfere with the setting of that policy strikes me as wrong. In an open primary, persons outside the party who already have a comfortably chosen candidate are free to interfere with the primary by voting for the candidate that their own candidate is most likely to be able to beat. (In this case, that might actually be a help to McKinney in this election. )
- I found some of her comments in the interview to be predictably dishonest. For example, she railed against “the media” for running a story about “McKinney” being indicted without mentioning that it was another person, not her, yet every story I have been able to find on the topic is very clear in reporting, using statements such as “Bill McKinney, who is not related to Cynthia McKinney, and Nancy Walter were indicted on charges.”
Saw the debate yesterday.Johnson was extremely unimpressive. He even admitted he would take a term to learn his job and to feel his way around the legislature. Admitted his businesses failed. Yet claimed his business experience made him electable,
She was too defensive. There have been a lot of attacks toward her lately . She also has learned pol speak. Answer a question for 2 minutes and give no info.
But he looked like a bumbling fool.
Its not just this one. Apparently 20 000 late comers identified themselves as Dems to vote in Lamont ,Lieberman election. They could well be repubs trying to get Lieberman back in.
If Cynthia McKinney told me the sky was blue I’d go out and check for myself. If she told me water was wet I’d dive in to make sure. And if she tells me that there’s some sort of conspiracy to get rid of her, I’d tell her that it’s absolutely true, all of the voters are conspiring to get rid of her: it’s called a primary, where voters dispose of their previous poor choice and start fresh. It’s a big conspiracy, too, involving the voters of an entire state! Why, they don’t get much bigger than that!
Very rarely is it so easy to look at an incumbent and find reasons to vote for their opponent. I have no idea who her opponent is, I know nothing of his ideas or politics, and yet if I lived in Georgia I’d vote for him in a New York minute. This has to be the easiest primary choice in America. The Republicans hardly have to spend money to get rid of her. She has done everything but thrown the switch on her career with her own actions.
In this case, they don’t have to choose. The Pub nominee, Catherine Davis, has already been chosen. (McKinney, Johnson and Davis are all African-Americans, BTW. And I’m sure that’s no accident, no more than Alan Keyes being tapped to challenge Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate seat in 2004.)
Actually, I’m fairly sure only Fourth District residents get to vote on this.
Could you be more specific? (I hope you’re not thinking of that bullshit flap about the Capitol cop.)
Well, in this case, it could be less strategic and more that the 4th District itself is a heavily black district.
What if you don’t identify yourself as a member of a political party? I don’t vote by the party, I vote for the person. I may think a Dem. is more qualified for one position while a Rep. is more qualified for another. I dislike all political parties equally. Does that remove my right to vote?
Typically you get to choose no matter which party you belong to or if you’re not registered with any party. That’s the way it works in CA, at least. I’m not registered with any party, but I always get a notice asking which party’s ballot I want.
No, but you might want to reconsider your thinking. The most “qualified” candidate is not always the best one. Do you want your district represented by a bumbler whose views and policies accord with yours, or an efficient political operative who will support everything you hate – and support it effectively? Party labels still mean something.
Bullshit flap? She assaulted a cop AND had the balls to claim that she was restrained because of racism! The nerve of that cop, to do his job!
But no, that’s not all. Here’s Slate, that bastion of conservative thinking, holding forth on Rep. McKinney from a few years back. Aware of all of this, her constituents showed her the door, only to bring her back. For what reason I have no idea, the woman is batshit crazy.
Oh, here’s my favorite piece of legislation sponsored by her:
What’s wrong with that? Congresscritters sponsor “private bills” for their pet personal causes all the time. And if McKinney has some conspiracy theory about Shakur’s death, she wouldn’t be alone. (As I understand it, many in the rap community blame Shakur’s rival, Notorious B.I.G., or his followers; and many believe Snoop Doggy Dogg killed B.I.G. in retaliation. When publicly questioned about this theory, Snoop replied, with a smirk, “Prove it!” No cite, just rumors I’ve heard.)
Voters in Georgia aren’t registered as Republicans or Democrats. On primary election day, you go to the polling place and fill out a little card with name, address, “signed under penalty of perjury”, etc. to request a ballot. One stack of cards will say “Democratic”, the other “Republican”. It’s entirely up to you which card you fill out and hence which primary you vote in. You turn in this card, they check you off of the list of registered voters for that precinct, and give you a ballot (a “ballot” nowadays being a little credit-card-sized plastic card you insert into the electronic voting machine); the ballot will have either Democratic candidates or Republican candidates (for various statewide offices and for the elections for the different districts that particular precinct is a part of).
Between elections you don’t have to be consistent which party’s primary you vote in; you can vote in the Democratic primary now, and the Republican primary two years from now. For any one election, including any resulting runoff, you only get to vote in one or the other primary; on July 18, 2006, you could only vote in either the Democratic or the Republican primary. For the August 8 runoff, if you voted in the Democratic primary, you can only vote in the Democratic primary runoff. If you didn’t vote at all on July 18, you can vote in the runoff in the party primary of your choice. You don’t have to have voted in any party primary or primary runoff to vote in the general election on November 7.’
All of this is secret ballot; so there’s nothing to stop anyone for voting for John Mumbler in the Demopublican Party primary over Sally Spellbinding, then turning around and voting for Republicrat Joe Blow in the General Election, who you figure will have a much better chance against John Mumbler than he would have against Sally Spellbinding–the only thing will be recorded is that you, a staunch Republicrat (as shown by your public statements, letters to the editor, campaign signs in your yard, bumper stickers on your car, etc.) voted in the Demopublican primary election this year. And you may also vote in the “other party” primary for more high-minded and less strategic/political reasons: “All the fellows running for the Republicrat nomination for governor are fine fellows, but I think we need to stop Fred Evil from even getting the Demopublican nomination, because his platform of putting all the left-handers in ‘Handedness Re-Education Camps’ and invading Alabama to regain our ‘lost Western territories’ really scares me.”
In the general election, you can vote for whomever you wish. Jimmy Carter was free to vote for George W. Bush in the last election and Saxby Chambliss was free to vote for John Kerry.
The primary elections are an evolved event that permits the political parties to use public resources to determine who will represent them in the general election. There are a number of legitimate criticisms of the party system or of its applications in different states, but given that it exists, open elections permit “tampering” by people of one party or no party with the choices of another party.
Problem is she doesn’t do much else – Tupac wasn’t even a resident of her district. I am resident in the Fourth Congressional District and am pretty familiar with McKinney. The Fourth is heavily black and even the whites that live here are pretty liberal; whoever wins tomorrow wins the seat, no “stands a good chance” about it. We managed to oust McKinney in '02 only to have her replacement, Denise Majette, vie for Paul Coverdell’s senate seat (then being filled by Zell Miller) the next election cycle. McKinney slipped back in. Truth be told, she’s very popular among poorer blacks and firebrand liberals for her “take it to the man” approach. As a legislator, she is less than worthless, she is a liability. This isn’t her fist time blaming Republicans for her primary woes. She called her '02 opponent, Majette, an uncle Tom, and her dad (politician Billy McKinney) blamed everything on the Jews* before Mel Gibson made it cool
*There is a pretty sizeable orthodox community in her district…
If Republicans in the district are smart, they’ll vote for McKinney in the primary…thus ensuring more comedy and incompetence for the next two years.
So her consituents want her to “take it to the man”, do they? I wonder how that’s working out for them so far.
her supporters like it when she sticks it to the man. Hopefully more than half of her constituents want her to beat it.
CNN: with 66% reporting, McKinney is down 58-42.
I told you that Hank Johnson didn’t need any help. The voters are kicking her out all by themselves.