Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The bloody primary

Interesting stuff about the potential Scozzofavafication of Scott McInnis in today's Denver Post. I tend to think that, in the end, McInnis will be able to mollify the teabagger crowd sufficiently to avoid a major challenge to his candidacy. But I remain curious about just what that crowd is willing to do. Could they really provide Dan Maes with enough support to make this a race? I'd bet Maes would do pretty well in the caucuses with teabagger backing, maybe well enough to bring on a real primary. But would they endorse a third party candidate in November? How far will they take this thing?

I also wanted to quibble with one point in this article:

McInnis unveiled a Platform for Prosperity on Nov. 23, in part to appeal to conservative voters, as he accepted the endorsements of two possible Republican opponents who bowed out of next year's gubernatorial race.

The move prevented what could have been a bloody primary and got top Republican leaders such as state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry and state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams on board with a general vision for a Republican governorship.

I'm not sure what a "bloody primary" looks like, but if it concerns the party insiders' chosen candidate getting torn apart by other Republicans, we've already got that. Shortly after the NY-23 election, David Karol did a post over at Monkey Cage describing the point of primaries:

Alan Ware has shown that part of the reason party leaders supported the creation of the Australian ballot and, some years later, the establishment of primaries was that they needed a nomination process that would appear legitimate to losers in order to minimize splits. Part of being a successful party is accepting that you fight your fight inside the organization and then respect its verdict.

The nice thing about a primary, even if your party's candidates trash each other, is that generally everyone acknowledges the outcome as legitimate. When party insiders elevate a candidate and proclaim him the nominee nine months before the primary, there's no finality to that. The people who lost in that race don't have to concede defeat. And they still have time to counter-mobilize, which is what appears to be happening here.

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