A FaceBook page with the text of the resolution details the reasoning for the resolution.
… our state should move to a system of registration by party and should structure our primaries so the political parties cannot interfere in other parties’ primary elections and county party organization. Republicans deserve the opportunity to conduct our primaries free of influence from others and with the belief that we are selecting candidates who truly believe in the principles of limited conservative government. This is merely a long overdue first step and the final decision rests with the legislature and the new governor. But Republicans should know that their representatives at the Tennessee Republican Party are looking out for their best interests.”
I have long been in favor of such a resolution for precisely the reasons stated. But not everyone agrees. The differences seem to be shaking out along ideological lines.
If you are a more Conservative Republican, you like the idea. The state GOP has obviously been trending more and more to the Right and this resolution, by excluding non-Republicans from the voting pool, would give more prominence to the influence of Conservatives in the Party.
If you are a more Moderate Republican, you may not like the idea as much. The resolution may have a dampening impact on outcomes you prefer. In today’s political environment in the TN GOP, we’ll not have many Olympia Snow Republicans running. But we are very likely to have any number of candidates perceived as Moderate in races at all levels. Democrats in TN, knowing their power and influence is tanking, have huge potential impact on the state and its governance by crossing over and voting for the GOP candidate they perceive as most Moderate (or least Conservative). The Democrat crossover block and the GOP Moderate block combined clearly have the potential to outnumber and outvote the GOP Conservative block.
While no one says it out loud, this clearly grants Democrats enormous influence in GOP politics. That this is an acceptable arrangement to some in the GOP ought to be both outrageous and revealing. How far are Moderate Republicans willing to go to obtain and retain power? The idea of collaborating with the Democrats, even informally or loosely, not on legislation but on candidates, still has too much of a Kent Williams flavor to it for many. That a state party would not protect all of its members from undue outside influence on their internal matters should anger those who trust that party to be acting as representatives for all Tennessee Republicans.
If you like the idea of closed primaries, and I encourage you to do so, contact your State Executive Committee member and let them know that as a TN Republican, you want them to enact the measure.
UPDATE: SEE ALSO:
TN GOP SEC to Consider Closed Primaries by Brian Hornback @ Brian’s Blog;
They are Open if You’re Republican or Democrat by Stacy Campfield @ Camp4U;
A Move is Afoot to Close the Primaries in Tennessee by Rod Williams @ A Disgruntled Republican;
Close the Primaries by Kate Wagner @ An Ol’ Broad’s Ramblings;
TN GOP Would Require Closed Minds by Michael Silence @ No Silence Here;
GOP Should Proceed With Care On Move to Close Primaries by David Oatney @ Tennessee Statehouse Examiner;
Closed Primaries in Tennessee? by John Scott @ Right at Home;
Pick a Team by Kay Brooks @ Kay Brooks;
Make Elections Smarter, Not Harder by Jenci Spradlin at Moderately Marvelous;
The Case (Again) for Open Primaries by Sean Braisted @ Nashville for the 21st Century;
Some GOP Leaders Want Closed Primaries – featuring an online poll – by Cara Kumari @ Nashville’s WSMV Channel 4;
GOP Panel to Weigh Tenn Party Registration Plan by AP writer Erik Schelzig @ The Jackson Sun;
More on GOP’s Plans for Closed
Minds Primaries by Michael Silence @ No Silence Here;
TN GOP’s ‘It’s All About Us’ Preservation Act by Michael Silence @ No Silence Here;
TN GOP SEC Supports Invasive Voter Pat Downs by Jenci Spradlin @ Moderately Marvelous;
If TN GOP Closes Its Primary by Michael Silence @ No Silence Here;