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CRAWFORD: Notion of voting for the man,...

CRAWFORD: Notion of voting for the man, not the party about to change

By: Magnolia Tribune - June 30, 2014

BILL CRAWFORD: Good-bye to open primaries

Once upon a time, Mississippians were fiercely independent. We didn’t want any outsiders telling us what to do. We also wanted to “vote for the man, not the party.”

That has changed and is about to change more.

Chris McDaniel’s campaign to unseat Thad Cochran depended heavily upon outsiders telling us how to vote – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, former TV host Chuck Woolery, the Club for Growth, the Tea Party Express and more. McDaniel and his Mississippi supporters welcomed these outsiders with open arms.

That he got almost 50 percent of the vote twice shows times have changed. We used to be more like, say, Oklahoma.

When Palin and company showed up in the Oklahoma GOP primary, retiring conservative Sen. Tom Coburn said, “we don’t need outsiders coming out telling us how to vote.”

Palin’s candidate got 34 percent of the vote.

Cochran won the runoff, in part, because Mississippi has an “open primary” system. “Open primary” means we don’t make voters register by party. We are free to vote for the Democratic candidate in one election, then the Republican candidate in another and vice versa. The only restriction is we cannot vote in one party’s first primary then the other’s runoff primary. If we don’t vote in any first primary, though, we can vote in any party’s runoff.

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This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.