Virginia Democratic Primary The Virginia Democratic primary (Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post)

Yesterday in the PostScript Bunker underground summit, opinions were flowing on how a new Republican Party leader could attract more GOP voters without causing a right-wing revolt. Today we have Matt Miller advising Democrats that they are the ones who can moderate the Republican Party, by switching registration and voting in Republican primaries.

Some Republicans responded today. Many of them said thanks but no thanks, Matt.


Republicans have a lock on the House of Reps. They have a good chance in taking over the Senate in 2014. Bush is now more popular than Obama. It isn’t the GOP that needs saving.


Democrats are still talking about raising taxes & spending, immigration and trying to help Republicans become more like Democrats. Americans are talking about how many decades in prison Barack Obama and his enablers will receive for their legion of crimes.

Some Democrats don’t like Matt’s plan because, well, it just might work:

Caveat emptor: saving the GOP does not necessarily translate into saving the Nation.


Republicans need to be destroyed.

But we also have some moderates and lefties who like the idea — or have even considered or tried it before:

dorla does this, but doesn’t think it has much effect:

I have been doing this since 1987. As a registered Republican, in the primaries I vote for the most moderate of the group, then change to the Democratic nominee. There are no bad intentions on my part. Hopefully before I die of old age – there will be a moderate who finally makes it past the primaries, but I doubt it.


Can’t say I hate the idea, but I’d prefer a move to open primaries nationwide. Then the largest party (Independents) might get involved and moderate both sides. I couldn’t believe Independents couldn’t vote in my state’s (PA) primary last month. I tried. The newspaper reported afterword that turnout was a paltry 13%! I bet if Independents could have voted it would have been a lot higher.

Although, as jheath53 writes, parties are sometimes trying to leave moderates out of primaries, and have ways around party registration:

There’s no party registration in Virginia. That’s why the GOPers held a convention [instead of a primary] to nominate Ken the Kook [Cuccinelli] for Governor. They didn’t want non-GOPers voting in a primary for a more moderate candidate.

bienefes thinks working on gerrymandering might have a bigger moderating effect:

Another, perhaps more “doable” solution to the problem of the extremist GOP would be changing the process of redistricting. Let’s face it, the real problem-child here is the House. After the last census, GOP-held statehouses and governors went to town using computer models to gerrymander districts even further to cement safe, ultra-conservative districts for the GOP. This, in large part, is the reason for so many “no compromise” extremists having been elected to the House since 2010. Redistricting is one of those issues (running state elections is another) that needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians and done by non-partisan committees, in a logical, not political manner. More diverse districts would naturally generate more moderate representatives, and thus, more chance of finding solutions to the nation’s problems.

johnwarner1 isn’t in a place to be able to execute Miller’s plan:

Love it. Love it. But doesn’t that mean I’d have to move to some loony redneck backwater where there’s no global warming or evolution? Maybe I’ll just stay in Connecticut.

And SensibleCentristFan is afraid of the social costs.

The only problem with this theory is the embarrassment factor: having to admit you are a Republican. I used to be one, but it became far too embarrassing to admit it to my friends. I kept hoping the party would return to sanity. I gave up. To admit to being a Republican today is like wearing a badge that says “I’m stupid.” I am sorry, I just could never do it. I may not agree with the Democrats on everything, but it has become far more respectable to be a Democrat as it has occupied the political center.

PostScript can speak a little to this, as she is strategically registered Republican anyway. Not because there is any point in voting in Republican primaries in the District, but because she has a hunch D.C. would get voting representation in Congress quicker if we got the percentage of registered Republicans up over 8%. Like Miller’s idea, this plan is absurd if only one person does it, but PostScript is pretty absurd. She can, however, speak to SensibleCentristFan‘s concerns. The social cost of being a registered Republican is about nine pounds of mail per year. She has detected no special attention from the IRS or DMV, no extra saliva in her drinks when she’s carded at a bar, no side-eye when showing up to vote. It’s almost like nobody really cares, except for the obvious and huge political impact she’s had.