California Republicans Reject My Vote

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Republicans in California have their standards. They’d rather lose every election than win my vote.

I’m not a Democrat. I’m an independent who has voted for candidates of both parties (or at least, I did before Trump). So you might think the party would want to recruit me, or at least let me vote for their candidates.

But they’ve barred me from doing so.  Because I’m an independent—and thus not registered with any political party.

The GOP presidential primary is excluding independents. I won’t be able to get a Republican ballot even if I ask for one. It might be fun to vote against Trump, but the party is changing its rules to make any real democratic challenge to the president impossible.

The real question is why. Perhaps the anti-democratic action is just of a piece with the program of a party that’s embraced authoritarianism and warred against democracy. Because it sure doesn’t make sense if Republicans ever want to win elections again in this state.

Of course, the Democrats will take my ballot. Their top candidates are uninspiring and their lesser candidates are unproven. But at least they are offering a choice—which is more than one can say of the California GOP.

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