On Tuesday, challenger Marie Newman conceded to the incumbent in IL-3 — the incumbent being Dan Lipinski who is at best described as DINO. Lipinski won his district 51-49. It was a slim win — even with the support of the DCCC, Susan B Anthony List, and multiple unions. Ms. Newman had the support of SEIU, Emily’s List and Bernie Sanders. While Newman is the kind of Democrat that many of us want to see in Congress, one thing that may not have worked in her favor is Illinois’ Open Primary setup.
But 19% of people voting in the primary approved of Trump. And Lipinski won those folks 85-10. Trump supporters in this open primary were responsible for saving Lipinski from a resounding defeat yesterday.
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) March 21, 2018
If we are confident in PPP’s data (and there’s no reason to doubt the credibility of this outfit), it looks as though highly energized Democrats could have put Newman over the top. It was the more conservative voters — likely Rs — who gave Lipinski the race.
Illinois has an Open Primary. This is a thing the DNC is considering encouraging states to adopt. It means that any registered voter can vote either ballot — you just have to declare a Party when you go to the Primary. And as we can see from this single instance, Open Primaries let Republican voters vote for the more Republican Democratic candidate. It effectively can nullify Democrats working at upping their game — as the Dems in IL-3 were clearly trying to do.
Primaries are supposed to be about letting Parties select their candidates to run in a General Election. I get that there is alot of concern about the people to refuse to declare a Party — opting to register as an Independent or Undeclared candidate. Open Primaries are *supposed* to let Independents and Undeclared back into the game. But the side effect is that it lets the GOP help to pick a Democratic candidate and pick one that is the least Democratic possible.
I’ve had a long-running argument with a local Wilmington pol who thinks the City should have Open Primaries, precisely to open them up to the GOP and Independents. I’m not sure why I should care about GOP voters — they need to get their party to mount up candidates that might appeal to City voters. Am sympathetic to finding a way for Independents to participate. Maybe Open Primaries should restrict ballot choices to voters who are clearly Independent or Undeclared. Maybe Independents could just register with a Party and participate in what Primaries are meant to be.
What I am clear about, though, is that the DNC should back away from this Open Primaries business. Encouraging Republicans to participate in Democratic elections results in DINO’s like Dan Lipinski getting an edge over more traditional Democratic candidates — Dem candidate who might even be interested in governing from our platform.