The California GOP is closing it's primary. Independents and crossover voters - the groups that McCain does well with - will be shut out of the states Super Tuesday presidential primary. And the Democrats have begun to do the dance of joy - "C'mon in! Have a cup of coffee, maybe a piece of pastry, and tell us all about it! Have a ballot while you're here!"
Some political analysts -- including some Republicans -- say the California Republican Party blundered when it decided last year that only registered Republicans could vote in its presidential primary, unlike 2004.Democratic Party campaign adviser Bob Mullholland was barely able to contain himself "The Republicans have been caught with their pants down. The Republicans are going to create a lot of anger out there."
"It's pretty hard to build a big tent if you don't let anybody else in," said Dan Schnur, a veteran Republican political consultant. "It doesn't make sense for a party that wants to and needs to broaden its base to throw this kind of obstacle in the path of an independent voter who wants to hang out with us."
Since 1992, the number of California voters who decline to register as a member of either party has doubled, now exceeding 19%. Over the same period of time, voters declaring themselves to be members of the Democratic Party has slipped to just under 43%, while Republican party affiliation has slipped to a mere third of all registered voters - 33.4% - according to the California Secretary of State's office.
So when California goes to the polls on Super Tuesday, twice as many voters will be eligible to vote in the Democratic primary as the Republican. "Republicans have made the serious, perhaps fatal, error of shutting independent voters out of their primary," said Garry South, who was a top advisor to former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. "The thing we know about independents is, when they choose to vote in a primary, they tend to stay with that party" in the general election.
Now, no one is even pretending that California is going to go Republican in November. But still in all, it has to be disheartening for conservative independents, like those who live in the Inland Empire and Central Valley, to be shut out of the process entirely. It highlights the "clubby" nature of the GOP at it's very core.
And believe me - none of this hurts a single one of my feelings. I have seen the GOP ship sailing for the shoals, and insisting that the light house needs to get the hell out of the way; so watching the damned thing scuttle, burn and sink is not going to cause me even a single faint pang of bad feelings. Let that cursed, corrupt and morally bankrupt enterprise self immolate. I will bring the marshmallows.