We’re all Republicans; the question is what kind – Lewiston Morning Tribune


Were you aware !

If you’re still agnostic about voting in Tuesday’s closed Idaho Republican primary election, please think again.Too much hangs in the balance for you to remain on the sidelines.Under legal pressure from the GOP base, Idaho ended its traditionally open primary a dozen years ago. Only those willing to publicly affiliate as Republicans could gain access to the slate of candidates seeking the GOP nomination for the fall general election.Don’t be confused: This move was not about dissuading a handful of Democrats from crossing over into the GOP primary and creating mischief.In hindsight, it was a clear case of voter suppression — discouraging right-of-center independents from diluting or even canceling out the preferences of the hard-core partisan base that dominates the Kootenai and Bonneville county GOP central committees, as well as pursue the preferences of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.Were you expecting political equilibrium to ride to the rescue? The political pendulum did not swing to the center — primarily because Idaho’s Democratic Party has never recovered from the losses it suffered in the 1990s.In part, it’s due to unsuccessful candidate recruitment. For instance, Democrats ceded 22 of Idaho’s 35 state Senate seats and 36 of 70 House contests to Republicans.Even when the Democrats offered the stronger candidate, such as Cindy Wilson for superintendent of public instruction four years ago, they’ve come up short. With a few exceptions, that’s how toxic the Democratic brand has become in the Gem State. How radical, corrupt or incompetent must an Idaho Republican nominee be in order to lose election to statewide or congressional office in November?Nor have the establishment wing of the Idaho GOP and its partners in the business community done much to alleviate the situation — either by returning this issue to the courts or by instituting a top-two primary — which would restore open voting and produce better choices in the general election.So the closed GOP primary is working out as its schemers intended. Over time, that ideological base has gained a disproportionate amount of political power, especially within the Idaho House of Representatives.Now the question is whether to extend that influence into statewide offices — governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state as well as the state Senate — which, until now, have served as a bulwark against the radicalism of the Idaho House.It’s not just a difference of spending more or less on public schools, but whether to siphon away tax dollars on private education for the wealthy.It’s no longer simply about how Idahoans sort out the problems of explosive growth, inflation, housing shortages and climate change but whether those issues are allowed to fester while renegade politicians continue to engage in conspiracies such as critical race theory or locking up librarians.Democrats have no choice in this matter. The time to change their affiliation came and went on March 11.For the more than 300,000 Idaho voters who remain officially unaffiliated, however, the rules entitle them to seek a GOP primary ballot at the polls on Election Day. In many places, the process is discreetly completed with an electronic poll book.That doesn’t change the fact that anyone who votes in the GOP primary is, as a matter of public record, considered a Republican — until he takes steps to unaffiliate with the GOP.Get over it.Everyone in Idaho is a Republican now.It’s just a question of what kind of Republican they are.Voting in this election is your right as a citizen. Your taxes pay for this primary election. You have a stake in its outcome. Don’t be complicit with a set of GOP rules that are meant to disenfranchise you.“In a one-party state like Idaho, the winners will be chosen in the Republican Party primary, except in a few geographic areas,” wrote former Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. “Everyone should exercise their sacred right to vote; it can make a tremendous change for the better.”After 12 years, voting in the closed GOP primary is no longer merely a personal choice.It has become a civic obligation. — M.T.

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