The Fulcrum has a piece on “opening” New York State primaries. It makes a familiar argument:
Primary elections are crucial to our electoral outcomes because they determine which representatives have a better standing in the general election.
There is nothing stopping independent voters from running a candidate in a general election — except maybe their inability to agree on that candidate.
And getting people to agree on one candidate (or technically a number that can win) is a major reason why “parties” emerge.
I put “parties” in quotation marks for two reasons. One is that many hear it as an anti-reform cudgel. The other is that “parties” may not track the two-party divide. I am thinking here of quasi-party organizations like Cincinnati’s Charter Committee or the Murkowski organization in Alaska.
Numerous public officials have won office as independents. Names that come to mind include Bloomberg, Lieberman, Ventura, and Weicker. Each of them did so on their own ballot line in a general election.
It’s time to retire the claim that nominating primaries equal disenfranchisement.