Idaho Republicans, at their state convention over the weekend, endorsed the idea of switching to closed primaries. Idaho has open primaries and - because much of the state tilts so Republican - a history of Democrats and independents crossing over to vote for either the least obnoxious or the weakest GOP candidate.
Hmmmm. Now why do you suppose they wanted to do that this year?
I personally like the idea of closed primaries for two reasons. For one, vote tallies in a closed primary would paint a more accurate picture of the two major party's strengths. With the heavy crossover vote to the GOP in primaries, the current system makes it look like Republicans are more powerful than they are - and we hardly need to encourage them.
Second, I suspect that requiring people to register by party would encourage voters to really think about which party more closely reflects their values. It's really pretty simple: Democrats believe in an egalitarian world view pairing personal integrity with responsibility to others so that no one is left behind. Republicans hold a world view in which right and wrong are clearly defined and individuals look out for themselves and their own interests. Yes, there are exceptions to these rules, but in general these are the core beliefs of the two modern parties, as evidenced by their policies and platforms.
When I canvass my neighborhood for voter IDs, I run into many, many people who call themselves independents, and that's fine. Such people could choose not to vote in primaries, or they could think about their values and align themselves with the party closest to their beliefs. Closed primaries would help people take their civic duties more seriously, and that's a good thing. What do you think?
Update (later Monday): Just came across this interesting post on the closed-primaries discussion by Joe Vandal at IdahoFallz.com.