Who’s Behind the Nonpartisan Primary Drive?

whoBy now you may have heard that a measure calling for “nonparistan elections” (or more accurately, nonpartisan primary elections) has made the 2016 South Dakota ballot.

Currently, Democrats elect their own Democrat nominee and Republicans elect their own Republican nominee, and these nominees then go on to face each other in the general election. That’s how it ought to be.

Primaries belong to the respective parties. The primaries are the mechanism through which each party chooses the nominee it wants to field against competitors in the general election for the elected office in question. People who want a say in this primary or that are free to join the respective party of their choice; all they have to do is fill out a voter registration form. There are no requirements whatsoever, it doesn’t cost anything and no further action is required to join that party; you don’t even have to vote if you don’t want to.  But you do have to show a minimum amount of “buy in” to that party by taking the time to register as a member. If you’re too lazy, or too schizophrenic in your philosophy, or your philosophy is too different from any of the available political parties, or  you’re too afraid of commitment to even fill out a one-sheet registration form, you don’t deserve a say in the selection of that party’s nominees.

Remember that we have laws to prevent foreign influence in our elections.  Foreigners (i.e. people who aren’t Americans) can’t vote in American elections (just like people who aren’t Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to vote in Republican elections), and foreigners can’t even contribute money to American candidates.  In American elections, we want candidates who will represent American values, if elected. In Republican elections, we want candidates who will represent Republican values, just as Democrats want candidates who will represent Democrat values.

If you were a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), would you want a bunch of drunks who didn’t belong to your organization coming in to vote in your officer and board member elections?  If you ran a ministry that gave shelter and aid to battered women, would you want a bunch of sexist men and wife-beaters to have a vote in electing your officers and board members? Or if you were on a football team, would you want members of the opposing team coming in to help choose your coaches and team captain?

Allowing non-Republicans to vote in the selection of a Republican nominee taints and perverts the process.  Do you think a Democrat is going to vote for a good Republican (i.e. one who actually believes in Republican principles and will support the Republican platform of conservative positions)?  Don’t hold your breath.  That means you’ll have full-blown, out-of-the-closet Leftists helping select the Republican who will go on to the general election.

Woodrow Wilcox


In a state where the political system is relatively vibrant and healthy, this wouldn’t be so much of an issue. There would be strong Democrat candidates running on one side, and strong Republican candidates running on the other side. Having strong candidates on both sides means Democrats have a strong interest in being involved in the selection of their candidate (i.e. a Democrat who best represents their values), and Republicans have a strong interest in being involved in the selection of their candidate (i.e. a Republican who best represents their values). This strong interest in being involved in the party with which you are most closely aligned ideologically helps prevent the mischief of crossing over to vote in the other party’s primary, and thus assisting the candidate the serious members of that other party least want to elect to represent their values.

But in South Dakota, the Democrat Party has become so pathetic that, except for a few heavily liberal districts, out-of-the-closet Democrats have little to no chance of winning a general election.  In fact, there is little or no showing from Democrats in many races across the state.  Quite a few legislative seats and other elected offices go unchallenged by Democrats; they can’t even field a sacrificial goat.



Which means there is nothing to motivate them to cast their one vote for a Democrat. If there is no Democrat running, or one so worthless and weak as to have zero chance of winning, why would the Democrat (in a nonpartisan primary) not simply move over and…vote for the most liberal Republican in the primary, and help the “Republican” most like an out-of-the-closet Democrat to win?

Which means the liberal “Republican” gets extra assistance in making it to the final round, while the Republican who actually better represented Republican values and was more loyal to the Republican platform gets drowned out by the combined votes of Democrats and RINOs for the RINO candidate.

Now, the possibility for mischief exists both ways, for both Democrats and Republicans, in a nonpartisan primary, but given the scenario in South Dakota of diminished Democrat involvement, which direction do you think the mischief is going to go?  It’s pretty obvious.

If there was any doubt, consider that this measure was instigated by Democrat Rick Weiland, and backed by a group called South Dakotans for Nonpartisan Democracy, a group formed by Democrat Rick Weiland,  I don’t know anything about some of the other people associated with this group, but Rick Knob seems to be pro-homosexual (a Democrat position), and from some of the letters to the editor from Pam Murray (which seem to take a pro-abortion and anti-Christian slant, as well as an interest in state-sponsored contraception–all Democrat positions) seem more in line with the Democrat Party than the Republican.  De Knudson is the wife of former legislator RINO Dave Knudson (and one of those Democrats who put an “R” after their name while keeping their Democrat politics), and their son is a Democrat. And Brian Hagg is a well-known RINO in these parts, promoting policies and politicians that are often more in line with the Democrat agenda than the Republican platform.

Funny, I don’t see a whole lot of conservatives lining up begging to vote in Democrat primaries, like the liberals seem so interested in voting in Republican primaries.  Amazingly, this conjunction of observations tells me something…

Look, I understand that Democrats want a greater degree of participation in South Dakota elections. As things stand, all of their best, most presentable, most coherent candidates have already left the Democrat Party and become “Republicans” many years ago. They’re only left with the dregs at this point, those so radical and/or discordant that even the thin facade of Republican allegiance the Democrats-with-an-“R”-after-their-name can manage is beyond their ability or inclination to pull off.

If some Democrats want to vote in the Republican Primary, they can do what so many Democrats in the past 10-20 years have done: just switch parties and put an “R” after their name. As so many South Dakota “Republicans” have proven over and over and over, Democrats don’t have to change their liberal ways when they join the Republican Party. Just fill out a form, put an “R” after their name, and keep on voting for Democrat policies and against Republican ones.

Or Democrats could end their infatuation with Marxism and anti-Americanism, and re-embrace traditional American values to make themselves more attractive as a political party.

See, there’s really no need for a “nonpartisan primary” at all.

And no need to risk mischief and a faster slide into the liberal sewage pit we’ve already been sinking into for some time now.

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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