Don’t Primary Red State Democrats

PurityAfter a string of clueless attempts to be iconoclastic, Jonathan Chait managed to write something that is both iconoclastic and right, Senate Democrats Wise to Block Background Checks. His argument is very simple: red state Democrats have to make some non-liberal votes to maintain credibility with their voters; this bill was almost completely useless, or as Chait puts it, “a compromise of a compromise”; therefore this was a good bill to vote against. And as I noted on Monday, the final law could have been much worse than nothing at all.

One thing that Chait doesn’t mention is that as much as these red state Democrats may annoy us from time to time, they are very strong members of the team. In fact, currently the Democratic Party has more disciple in the Senate than the Republican Party. So the calls I’m hearing from certain corners that we should primary these red state Democrats are just crazy.

There is a related issue that I think is really important. Democratic politicians from blue states are often quite conservative, especially on economic issues. Dianne Feinstein, from my own great state of California, comes to mind. When it comes to red state Democrats, a primary would probably end in a Republican winning the general election. But why aren’t we primarying Democrats in blue states?

One of our biggest political problems is that the Republican Party is too extreme and the Democratic Party is not extreme enough. One way to fix this would be to enforce a little ideological purity on our representatives from liberal areas. After all, what makes the Republican Party unacceptable is not that Orrin Hatch of Utah is an extremist. He’s from an extremist state; he should be extremist. But why do the people of the very liberal state of New York have an economic conservative as governor?

So we need to stop this nonsense about primarying red state Democrats and start talking about primarying their blue state counterparts who have no good reason for being as conservative as they are.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Primary Red State Democrats

    • Over three years old, but yes, it is still a good idea. As I often complain, my Representative is okay, but he’s much more conservative than the people he represents. Compare this to Republicans who are on average considerably more conservative than their already very conservative constituencies.

  1. It is interesting how it breaks down for Senators who are seeking reelection. Their six year terms guarantee that they will have to alternate between off year elections and presidential elections. In 2014, the GOP smacked down some Senators who had ridden Obama’s cocktails in 2008. In 2016, liberals need to punish these Blue State GOP Senators.

    As you said, a Senator like Orrin Hatch is one thing but guys like Mark Kirk and Pat Toomey and Ron Johnson need to pay a price. I am genuinely amazed how unaware these guys are about their reelection prospects. On day one, back in 2011, these GOP senators should have known that they won in 2010 because only affluent retirees seem to vote in mid terms. However, they knew for certain that they would have to face the same sort of electorate in 2016 that made their states part of the so called “blue wall.”

    • Long-term thinking is not something that politicians are good at. But they may just assume their re-election is dependent on external factors (that is, the economy). And so they should just do what they want. I don’t know.

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