The primaries here in Pennsylvania are next week. I am a Republican and so can only vote on the Republican side of the ballot. I am concerned about the GOP nominee for the US Senate.
Doctor Oz is the frontrunner. He has a lot going for him. He is a Muslim, a self-made man, a medical doctor, and multilingual. But none of that matters because he is backed by Donald Trump. So he is out it.
I ran into a situation a few years ago, I felt neither candidate for the county council was worth my vote. The democrat was from the extreme left, decriminalize everything and raise taxes to pay for it. The republican was a third generation politician that believes Reaganomics is still the way to go. Instead of throwing the vote in the trash by voting for Mickey Mouse, I wrote in a co-worker of mine. In a big surprise to him and me, he actually garnered 3 votes. We never figured out who the 2 other voters were.
As a non-American, I’m not sure that I understand this. Is this the thing where Americans have to “register” as a party member/supporter before you can vote? Or do you self-identify as a Republican and will only vote Republican? I’m confused about your obligation to vote GOP.
This is a primary, so it’s determining which candidate from a specific party will go on to the general election. In the general election, they’ll be one Republican, one Democrat, etc. In the general you can vote for whoever you want, regardless of your party registration. And as flurb pointed out, the rules about who can vote in primaries vary by state.
Who has been endorsed by Ted Cruz and has Stephen Miller on his staff, so there’s an embarrassment of riches for Republicans all around. For all of you saying “I’m going to vote for the person who’s so extreme they’ll never win”-Are you sure? Are you?
As others have said, the primary is a run-up to the General Election, which is the final vote with everyone eligible on the ballot, regardless of party.
The primary determines who represents each party. In my state of Indiana, when I vote in the primary, I don’t have to be registered to a party (though I do have to be registered as an eligible voter in the state). When I arrive at my polling place, I request the ballot of the party I wish to vote in. That ballot will have only members of my party that are running for election in the various races (US Representative, Indiana State Representative, US Senate, coroner, county election clerk, etc.).
Here are the general rules. But as others have said, each state can set up its own rules so they vary.
There are separate primary elections for each party. All the people who are running for the Republican nomination compete and registered Republican voters vote in the Republican primary. Whichever Republican candidate wins the Republican primary becomes the Republican candidate in the general election. The same policy is followed by the Democrats.
People have to register in order to vote in the general election. They can register that they have no party affiliation or they can register as a member of a party (no proof is required). If they register as a member of a party they can vote in their party’s primary elections as well as the general election.
People are not required to vote for their party’s candidate in the general election regardless of how they registered.
Some nuances of this system:
Registered party members tend to be more devoted in their ideology. Registered Republicans, for example, tend to be more conservative than the average voter. And its the registered voters who choose the candidates. So sometimes you will see a candidate getting nominated who appeals to the true believers of their party over a candidate who might have broader appeal among all voters.
A result of this is some candidates switch their strategy in the middle of the campaign. A Republican candidate will run as a hard conservative, for example, in order to win the support of registered Republican voters. But once they win the primary and become the candidate, they want to shift their image to appeal to the unaffiliated voters they’ll need to win the general election.
This leaves everyone questioning the candidate. Conservatives are thinking “Is this guy a moderate who only pretended to be a conservative to win our support?” while moderates are wondering “Is this guy a conservative who’s only pretending to be a moderate to win our support?”
Another factor is some people try to game the system (sometimes called strategic voting). Let’s again assume you’re a staunch Republican. You look over the Democrats who are seeking the nomination. You see one is a popular moderate with broad appeal. Another is a left wing extremist who most voters don’t like. So you register as a Democrat even though you are firmly a Republican. But you are able to vote in the Democratic primary and you cast your vote for the left wing extremist. You have no intention of voting for that candidate in the general election but you want them to win the nomination because you feel they will be a weaker opponent to the Republican candidate who you actually want to win.
As a former resident of Pennsylvania now living in the Garden State, I have some interest in what is going on over there. The relentless TV ads for the Republicans you mentioned are nothing short of embarrassing. Each is trying to “out-Trump” the other. Oz got the endorsement from Trump but McCormick still shows a picture of himself shaking hands with Trump. Even though Trump picked Oz over him. One McCormick’s other ads is, basically, just a series of shots of him holding and shooting guns. Barnette seems to be closing fast on those two. Perhaps the best outcome is that she wins assuming that she will be the weakest opponent the Democrat nominee. BTW, Oz may be an MD but he sells snake oil on the side. Like, a lot of snake oil.
One thing that I think a lot of people in other countries don’t realize is that the United States truly does not have national elections. There are some national standards that have been set by Congress and the courts such as having a uniform national election day (but even that technically only applies to the election for President and Vice President). The organization and administration of elections is left almost entirely to individual states.
And it’s hard to generalize. Some states don’t let you register with a party at all. Some states allow you to switch parties the day of the primary. A couple have “jungle primaries” where all candidates are on the primary ballot, and the top 2-4 vote getters advance regardless of party. Some states have “caucuses” in lieu of or addition to partisan primaries.
That’s one strategy, one I disagree with both on principle and practicality. Democrats crossing the aisle to vote for Trump under that theory helped him get the nomination.
I live in a very red area, so I vote in the Republican primary most of the time. However, I’m not picking the most extreme in the hopes that they don’t win the general, I pick the one that seems the least repulsive, since it is very likely that they will win the general.
Sorry for my simplified answer above. It is a very complicate system that varies by state.
In NJ, for example, you can register with a party on the day of the election, so if I, as a registered Democrat, wanted to vote in the Republican primary, I could wait until election day to make the choice (I believe – I know I was able to choose Democrat on the day of, when I was independent). Others have mentioned all the other variations, etc.
I agree with someone above who said to the OP that if he (the OP) isn’t a MAGA person, why are you still a Republican?
Actually that varies by state. I’ve been No Party since 2008 and I can walk into the Primary and vote in either Dem or Rep and then I must go through the county to once again unregister as voting in a Primary in NJ registers you.
Some states, you can vote in either or both primaries, doesn’t matter what party you belong to.