Op-Ed by Daniel Bobinski
News spread quickly this week about the proposed rule change for how Republicans seeking office in Idaho would get to be on the ballot. Frankly, it reads like something out of Soviet Russia – if you please the party hierarchy you can appear on the ballot. For those who’ve not yet had a look, here’s a link to the proposed changes, and I encourage Republicans to read it (see here, or see below). However, in a nutshell, the change would empower those holding positions in the Idaho State Republican Party to be arbiters of who gets to appear on the ballot at federal, state, and county levels.
Like I said, it sounds a lot like Soviet Russia.
As I read through the proposed changes I immediately thought I needed to come out against them. But then I thought I should give it a fair hearing and consider why someone might draft the proposed changes in the first place. And so I started making calls, talking with people who’ve long been involved in Idaho Republican politics. Here’s what I learned:
The general consensus among those with whom I spoke is that the proposed changes will not pass when the Idaho Republican Party meets this weekend for its bi-annual (winter) meeting. That said, what follows is a discussion of issues surrounding the proposed changes, some of which become problems if the changes are accepted, and some of which will remain problems if they are not.
Benefits if the rule change passes
If the rule change passes, it eliminates the impact of former Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones and folks like former Boise State University President Bob Kustra urging Democrats to switch party affiliation for the primary in May and vote for establishment Republicans like Brad Little (alleged candidate governor), Scott Bedke (candidate for Lt. governor), and Lawrence Wasden (candidate for attorney general).
Jones and Kustra are in league with the group “Take Back Idaho,” which, in practice, wants to take Idaho back to the days when Democrats ruled the roosts. They love bashing the Idaho Freedom Foundation as dangerous to Idaho, when, in fact, IFF’s Freedom Index is practically identical to the scores given by the American Conservative Union (CPAC), whom Little and Bedke don’t DARE criticize.
Problems if the rule change does not pass
If the rule does not pass, Idaho’s Republican primary runs the risk of groups like the Marxist-friendly 97% Project (run by Critical Race Theory proponent Mike Satz) convincing their most ardent left-wing followers to switch parties for the primary and cast their vote for Brad Little.
Other groups also claiming the Conservative label but are actually pushing a liberal, establishment agenda will work hard to convince voters that the IACI-puppet Little and “I’m going to hold court to rule over my minions” Bedke are the right men for the job.
Problems if the rule change passes
If the proposed rule change passes this weekend, only those individuals identified in the rules can decide who gets to appear on a primary ballot. Opponents of the rule change say this would disenfranchise the citizens’ right to choose who should be on the general ballot in November. Some are saying Idaho would be the only state that does something like this. Not true. Other states definitely do have systems similar to this. Those saying the opposite are uniformed.
At this time, the proposed rule change is “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
If the rule passes, huge problems exist in places like Canyon County, where establishment RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) rule the roost, and work hard to paint true Constitutional conservative Republicans as dope-desiring Libertarians. Nothing is further from the truth, but establishment hacks aren’t ashamed of lying to get their way. If the rule passes, they get to decide which candidates qualify for the ballot, and you can safely wager that they won’t be approving anyone who seeks to actually stand up for Constitutional limited government, as outlined in the Idaho State Republican Party Platform.
Additionally, if no candidate achieves the 60% approval threshold, then two candidates get to appear on the ballot – and Democrats will still be able to switch over and vote for the more liberal candidate.
What this rule proposal does
I’m not a fan of this proposed rule, but I’m also not a fan of leftists without morals being unethical and switching parties to vote in the Republican primary.
If nothing else, this proposed rule initiates a serious conversation, and also a need to look at what is working well in other states to get solid, Constitutional conservatives on the ballot. To quote John Adams, “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
One thing is for sure. The role of Precinct Committeeman is vitally important, and if this rule goes through, it will be UBER-important. No longer will there be vacancies in those seats, and instead of pouring money into high profile campaigns, organizations like IACI will be pouring money into PC elections.
Either way – if Constitutionally conservative Republicans want to impact who gets on the ballot, it’s time for those people to get serious and campaign hard for a Precinct Committeeman seat. The saying that all politics are local has never been more true.
PS. I’m sure there are many more pros and cons. Let the discussion begin!
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