« Senate District 33 (UPDATE: May an Indy) | Main | Randy Forbes, No Homo »

December 03, 2013


Not Harry F. Byrd

I've always been a big fan of Virginia's tradition of not having party registration. I've never really heard of a compelling reason to introduce it.

I also like open primaries. I always felt they led to better nominees but the political science research in this area seems not that overwhelming in favor or against (separate from the primary vs convention issue). Nevertheless, I still like the idea of everyone having an ability to influence the process if they have an interest regardless of who they supported in the past.

Incidentally, while I haven't seen a lot of compelling reasons FOR party registration, there's a nice demonstration of one against it: the District of Columbia. It's not a perfect example because of the lopsided party numbers, but there is still a nice chunk of Independent and even Republican voters in DC who are essentially disenfranchised because the Democratic nomination is the "real" contest and they can't participate in it without signing up as a Democrat.


NHFB, my family is from New York state (Buffalo/Rochester area). They have party registration there, which lead to a full time legislature, adn now a full governing class of people who do nothing but hold office.

Not good.

David C.F. Ray

What never ceases to amaze me is how Republicans, supposedly the party of LIMITED government, keep hovering over this calamitous idea of party registration.

Chris is EXACTLY right -- one's party membership is NONE of the government's blasted business.

People who know me already know I believe all primaries are unconstitutional. But even if we set that completely ASIDE, how do Republican think that the proper arbiter of who is or isn't a Republican should be decided by government public policy?

However far-fetched this might sound, imagine the following scenario.

Mark Warner runs for re-election in 2014, unopposed for the Democrat nomination in his primary (I imagine he'll invoke his special legal prerogative to demand a primary). Meanwhile, the GOP capitulates to Eric Cantor, Bill Howell, Bill Bolling, Wyatt Durrette, and Tom Davis, and rescinds the 2014 GOP convention in favor of a primary.

The General Assembly passes party registration legislation in time to be applied to 2014.

Former GOP Governor Linwood Holton, after having hosted several fundraisers across Virginia for Mark Warner (he has supported every statewide Democrat for several years running, so this part is NOT far-fetched), registers as a REPUBLICAN to vote in the crowded GOP primary (featuring Shak Hill, Howie Lind, Tom Davis, Mike Farris, Pete Snyder, and Barbara Comstock). On the very day Gov. Holton registers with the government as a Republican, he keynotes a Mark Warner rally in downtown Richmond (he lives in the City of Richmond these days).

The Virginia GOP would be legally POWERLESS to prevent Gov. Holton from voting in our primary.

For those who comprehend just how abominable this scenario would be, no further explanation is really necessary, and they should all vigorously oppose party registration.

For those who cannot comprehend just how abominable this scenario would be, and who believe that only the bureaucrats at the State Board of Elections should be the ones to set party membership criteria, no explanation is possible.

Not Harry F. Byrd

Chris, you mentioned the full-time legislature bit. That's another aspect I see occasionally pop up as what's "wrong" with Virginia. But I've always liked it.

Granted, it's mainly personal sentiment and intuition - I haven't really seen any comparison studies - but the idea of citizen-legislators who do other things and don't depend entirely on their service for their livelihood has appeal.

Hell, even the Speaker has a separate day job on the Rappahannock (sp) and anyone can walk in and offer their two cents (which, supposedly, the Speaker appreciates). I don't think you get that with a full time legislature.

But I could be wrong.

Stephen Spiker

David Ray and I fully agree on something, which is unusual.

The comments to this entry are closed.