The Significance of the Michigan Primary

Today’s Michigan primary is primarily a Republican event as most of the Democratic candidates have had their names removed from the ballot due to the primary being held early in violation of party rules. This means that Democratic voters might influence the Republican results should many Democrats vote in their primary. John McCain, who win in 2000, is most likely to benefit from a cross over vote. I doubt it will have much impact but Daily Kos has recommended a vote for Mitt Romney to keep as many candidates as possible alive in the race. The theory is that the longer the nomination battles goes on, the more Republicans are tied down attacking each other. This logic could also backfire as an active primary battle also provides the party more news coverage. Some Democrats plan to vote for Ron Paul in protest of the war. Personally if I was to vote in the Republican primary I would do so only to vote for the Republican that I thought would make the best president, and not solely to cause trouble as Kos recommends.

Most likely the winner will be whoever did the best at convincing voters they could improve Michigan’s economy. Romney’s chances are helped by having been advertising heavily in Michigan for several weeks. Some see this as Mitt Romney’s last chance to save his campaign after losing in the earlier high profile events. I’m no longer so sure of this. We might be beyond the point where one candidate can get the momentum to dominate the race with early high profile wins, especially with different winners in Iowa and New Hampshire. It might be possible for the candidate who repeatedly wins the silver to ultimately accumulate more delegates than the other candidates.

If anyone can get the momentum to dominate at this point it would be John McCain. Possibly a win in Michigan could give him the momentum to continue to win through Super Tuesday and wrap up the nomination, but he still faces obstacles due to opposition from many in the party’s base. This opposition to McCain might keep Mitt Romney’s chances alive should he be able to get the base to support him over McCain, even if he comes in second in Michigan.

Mike Huckabee makes it difficult for anyone to dominate the Republican base as he receives the bulk of the votes from the religious right contingent of the GOP. Huckabee concentrated on both immigration and Christian values as he concluded campaigning. (Personally I’ve never been too worried about illegal aliens crossing the border from Ontario.) If he can do better than expected in Michigan, especially if he pulls in many votes from the non-evangelicals, Huckabee would give his campaign additional credibility.

The results of the Democratic primary probably won’t mean anything unless Uncommitted does extremely well against Clinton. Write in votes won’t be counted, making an Uncommitted vote the only means for supporters of Obama or Edwards to oppose Clinton. I had originally planned to vote for Chris Dodd as the best alternative to Clinton who is on the ballot. The night of the Iowa caucus, when Obama won and Dodd dropped out, my wife and I quickly filled out our absentee ballots by writing in Obama’s name, hoping others would do the same. Later in the week the newspapers began reporting that write in votes for those not on the ballot will not even be counted, so if Clinton should only beat Uncommitted by two votes I will be quite upset by our wasted ballots!

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  1. 1
    Eric Dondero says:

    Ron Paul got 6%. He needed to break into double digits.

    And on the eve of Michigan Daily Kos releases a damning video of a White Supremacist who is listed as Paul’s Midland, MI County Chairman. Also, photo of Paul with the White Supremacist.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I haven’t checked Kos. I’ll have to see what that is about.

    Even if Paul broke into double digits, would it matter? Even if he pulled in 15%, he’d still have no chance of winning the nomination.

    6% does show how little support Paul has, considering that a fair chunk of his vote probably is coming from anti-war Democrats who are voting for him due to the lack of a real Democratic primary.

  3. 3
    Brett says:

    “The night of the Iowa caucus, when Obama won and Dodd dropped out, my wife and I quickly filled out our absentee ballots by writing in Obama’s name, hoping others would do the same. Later in the week the newspapers began reporting that write in votes for those not on the ballot will not even be counted, so if Clinton should only beat Uncommitted by two votes I will be quite upset by our wasted ballots!”

    Damn, that’s very sad. Who knows how many voters filled out Obama’s (or Edwards’s or Richardson’s) name not knowing that their votes would be discarded like yours? Who knows what the margin of victory for Clinton or “Uncommitted” might have been?

    Well, fortunately, Clinton didn’t win by two votes, so you’re safe, but it appears that they are still counting Dodd’s votes even though he dropped out. It appears that you should have stuck to your original plan and voted for him.

    Anyway, it’s a deep shame you were not informed that you could not vote for the candidate that you wanted to in this particular primary. This system needs to be fixed.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Part of the problem is that we filled in our ballots the night of the Iowa caucus, within minutes of Dodd dropping out. After that they did start publicizing the fact that ballots with write ins would be discarded. That still leaves the question of how many weren’t aware of this. I also wonder why they even put a place for write ins on the absentee ballot if they weren’t going to count them.

    In related items, MSNBC is now reporting that exit polls show that 73& of the uncommitted votes would have gone to Obama. Despite the high unemployment here, not many buy Edwards BS.

    It also sounds like the exit polls show that half of the male voters and a large majority of black voters picked uncommitted.

    I wonder how well Obama would have done if he was on the ballot.

  5. 5
    The Charters Of Dreams says:

    Mitt Romney, darling of National Review and erstwhile heir to Ronald Reagan – runs and wins a campaign arguing that the federal government is responsible for all of the ills facing the U.S. auto industry, that the taxpayer should pony up the corporate welfare checks going to Detroit and increase them by a factor of five, that the federal government can and should move heaven and earth to save “every job” at risk in this economy, and that economic recovery is best achieved by a sit-down involving auto industry CEOs, labor bosses, and government agents armed with Harvard MBAs to produce a well-coordinated strategic economic plan? That is, what explains the emergence of economic fascism (in a non-pejorative sense) in the Grand Old Party at the expense of free market capitalism?

    There’s no real answer, but it certainly explains the increasing migration of libertarians voters to the Democratic Party. They may be no better, but at least the Dems offer libertarians something in social and foreign policy circles that the Republicans don’t.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    True, neither the Republicans or Democrats offer libertarians anything with regards to their view of free market economics. Libertarians have often paid too much attention to Republican use of free market rhetoric and ignored the fact that it has often been Republicans who have been responsible for the greatest growth of government.

    At present, while far from perfect, at least there is a clear advantage to the Democrats in terms of opposing the war and opposing the agenda of the religious right.

  7. 7
    Eric Dondero says:

    Libertarians are moving towards Romney now. The Romney campaign already has a number of libertarian Republicans working for them.

    And Bill Weld, Mr. libertarian Republican, is a big Romney guy. If Romney gets the nod, libertarians will be very happy with him as the GOP choice.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:


    Romney? Romney opposes free market economics. He supports the Iraq war and the Warfare state. He has flip flopped on the positions where he was previously more libertarian.

    At least he isn’t as terrible on civil liberties as the last Republican you tried to sell as a libertarian, Rudy Giuliani.

  9. 9
    The Charters Of Dreams says:

    “libertarians will be very happy with him as the GOP choice”

    … ?! …

    ah . . . did NASA discover some form of extraterrestrial political creature? From what planet do these libertarians hail from? If they’re from earth, can they read? Have they been brainwashed?

    Michael D. Tanner, Cato’s director of Health and Welfare Studies and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution writes:

    “Mitt Romney’s victory in Michigan’s Republican primary last night throws the GOP race for president wide open. But it should also end once and for all the idea that Romney is the heir to Reagan-style conservatism. … George W. Bush once said’ ‘When somebody hurts, government has got to move.’ Mitt Romney echoes that, ‘A lot of Washington politicians are aware of it, aware of the pain, but they haven’t done anything about it. I will.’ Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave.”

    If, however, it’s these happy libertarians secret adgenda to pound the final nail in the GOP’s coffin, they couldn’t hope for more than to get Romney elected.

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