There was a lot of bipartisan consensus in the spring about how crappy the caucus system is for selecting our presidential nominees, and widespread agreement that a presidential primary would give more people the chance to participate in the process. Plus, it would be way easier to navigate and actually matter.
Unfortunately, closet liberal and DaVita CEO Kent Thiry has seized on that sentiment and put Prop. 107 and 108 on the ballot as a means to his end. For years (we wrote about this back in 2013) people have speculated that Thiry has his eye on public office and one day hopes to run for governor. Open primaries are being seen as his foot in the door.
Proposition 107 will establish a presidential primary in Colorado and allow unaffiliated voters to participate, and Proposition 108 will make statewide primaries open to all voters as well. Parties could bypass the primary system if a single candidate could emerge from an assembly or convention first.
Consensus at party assemblies is rare, and occasionally someone with a great speech (see: Darryl Glenn) could come out of nowhere and sweep the entire thing. Simply put: they’re unpredictable and not a fair way for parties to “bypass” the open primary. Both parties also have a strong bench of gubernatorial candidates for 2018, and an open primary could really screw either or both of them up if, say, a rich dude like Thiry decided to meddle.
While there was some initial opposition to these measures when they made the ballot in August, the issue is having a hard time breaking through all the noise this election cycle. Sen. Kevin Grantham is continuing the drum beat as he recently campaigned against the idea of letting “everybody from outside the party make your decisions for you.” We hope to see more people join that chorus because this is bad for Republicans and Democrats, folks. Open primaries won’t give us better candidates; they’ll just give us chaos.