Posted by Russell Daniels on September 09, 2021 at 3:09 PM
Open primaries in Maryland would help end political divisiveness
But in politics, everything is different. Too many elected leaders — who, in theory, are guided by the principle of serving the people — focus all their energy on stopping one another. For one side to win, the other side has to lose.
Of course, the real losers are the voters, who are too often forgotten in this political tit-for-tat. But when it comes time for voters to tell politicians what they think, the ballot box proves an unfaithful ally. Safe seats and uncompetitive races mean that it has become almost impossible for voters to make their voices heard.
We can start with our primaries.
Maryland is one of just nine states that continue to use closed primaries, prohibiting independents from participating and further insulating politicians from accountability. Because legislative districts are often “safe” for one party or the other, the election that actually matters is the primary, an election for which few people tend to turn out. Those who do turn out tend to be more partisan and ideological than the rest of us.
When something isn’t working in my factory, we take a look at the process and fix the problem at its root cause. The same concept can and should be applied to our political system.
Better yet, our state could adopt nonpartisan primaries in tandem with reforms such as ranked-choice voting (a reform that has already been adopted by itself in cities such as Takoma Park). By allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference, we put more power in the hands of voters while creating healthier competition for candidates.