Election systems don’t reward consensus-builders

Some observers say that closed primaries have led to “extremism” in Congress and elsewhere. Their logic is that only rabid loyalists tend to vote in primaries and they tend to vote for the candidate who is most rabidly loyal to the party line — liberalism or conservatism. So, it follows that the most strident become party nominees and, eventually, the most uncompromising officeholders.

Well, put all that aside, and come back to Mississippi.

Here, largely because there is no registration by party, all sorts of treachery becomes more likely.

No less than senior U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has recognized this. He went to federal court to try to get Mississippi in line with other states with closed primaries but has yet to succeed.

The particular dirty deed that Republicans can do to Democrats (or Democrats can do to Republicans) is to run a spoiler in the other party’s primary.

Charlie Mitchell
Clarion Ledger