It was with great trepidation that I began to read Professor Sean Evans’ Opinion piece in Sunday’s Jackson Sun (April 24, 2022). Particularly intriguing was the title, “Is Crossover Voting Mischievous?” Would illegal be a better word? However, one of the definitions of mischievous is “an action causing or intending to cause harm or trouble.” The other definition is “causing trouble in a playful way.” This latter definition is what most people think of when they hear the word mischievous. I sincerely hope Professor Evans doesn’t believe the current state of the local Primary Elections was caused in a playful manner.
I think Professor Evan’s excuses that people use to Crossover, were spot on. I have heard all of them before. But apparently there is a huge misunderstanding about exactly what a Primary Election is. It is not a General Election. It is not for all registered voters. It is a party election, be it Republican or Democrat. It is a preliminary election to select candidates to run in the General Election. The party has to file with the Election Commission to even have this election. Said party has a right to expect that their election will be held with voters of like-mind voting to select the candidate their party has authorized to be on the Primary Ballot. I will not go into the law regarding Primary Elections. I think we all agree there is a law that persons of integrity should adhere to. Some have noted that you should go ahead, vote wherever and however you want because you “won’t get caught.” What ever happened to “old-fashioned” integrity?
I was fascinated with Professor Evans’ four points that were, I think, to encourage Republicans from their “unwarranted fears.” On the surface, these points seem reasonable; however, these are an accumulation of many elections and are just the way that an election should, could, might happen. Political Science is not an exact “science” if a science at all. I am an accountant and when I add two numbers together, I will always get the same answer, but in politics two elections do not always adhere to the norms. Case in point: our current Madison County Republican Primary Election. This election may even be called unprecedented, when, as Professor Evans stated, local talk show hosts, Democratic groups and many individuals are advocating Crossover Voting. Even one of the Republican candidates has openly solicited for Crossover Votes.
I have been assigned the daunting task of reviewing every vote that is cast in the Republican Primary. Therefore, I feel I can address each of Professor Evans’ points about this election.
- Independents: Just because you do not affiliate with a certain party, just vote however you feel like voting. If you cannot affiliate with one party or the other, your right to vote in a primary is NULL. To loosely quote our Tennessee Secretary of State, Tre Hargett who visited Jackson last week and shared insight into this subject, “We make choices everyday. You choose NOT to affiliate with one or the other party, you lose your opportunity to vote in the primary. You can vote in the General Election after the parties have chosen their candidates.” Disenfranchised, I think not.
- Hard-core Democrats: Yes, Professor Evans, my accounting of this election’s voting is shocking. There are a significant number of Hard-Core Democrats voting in this year’s Republican Primary. So much for STIGMA.
Which brings me to an important aspect of this primary. This election is a PLURALITY. It is not a MAJORITY. What is a plurality? A plurality is an election where the winner is the one who gets ONE (1) more vote than the person with the second highest number of votes. The candidates on the Republican Primary Election Ballot have the right to expect Republicans to elect them, not someone who doesn’t even share Republican values. One Crossover vote is too many.
- Now Professor Evans says, but IF these Independents or Democrats do actually vote in the opposing party’s primary, it is because of a particular candidate that they want to see win, and then, they MAY vote for that person in the General Election.
Well, who would have thought that they were trying to get a particular candidate elected?
- Now the final point of Professor Evans’ opinion: that all the candidates are conservative to varying degrees, so it really doesn’t matter. They are just different personalities within the same general realm of the political arena. I think many Republicans would disagree with this idea.
I remember another time when this sort of notion was touted. Remember this from Professor Evans October 14, 2020 Jackson Sun referring to the 2020 Presidential Election: “Do We Really Need to Fear the Other Side Winning?” I think we have the answer to that one.
Been to the grocery store lately? How about the Gas Pump?
It would be nice if things always worked according to a given set of norms. Not so in this election. Political Science Departments study all sorts of data associated with elections. I am not minimizing the importance of the findings, just stating the facts as they relate to the current Madison County Republican Primary.
Member of Madison County Republican Party
Member of Madison County Republican Women