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Saturday, February 16, 2019

You’d be hard to find a voter in America who’s lived through a more turbulent primary season that this one: Donald Trump is at once a fascist insult comic pandering to the GOP’s far-far-right base and a defender of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding. Bernie Sanders, throwing caution to the wind, wants Trump to win, just so he can beat him up in the general election. Hillary Clinton, having steamrolled Bernie in South Carolina, is winding up the knock-out punch that will end his campaign’s shot at the candidacy. Marco Rubio is holding on for dear life, and so is Ted Cruz — but barely.

And voters are panicking: What can we do to save our country from this clown car?

For tens of thousands of people, the answer is to switch parties.

As Super Tuesday voting rolls across these United States, thousands of voters will cast their ballot for the first time as recent Republican and Democratic converts. Some are following the appeal of a magnetic outsider. Others are seemingly in it to wreak havoc: by voting for Donald Trump, who will certainly damage his party’s chances in November.

The Boston Herald reported that 16,000 Massachusetts voters have renounced their Democratic affiliation in order to be counted as independents. Six thousand Republicans did the same. In Massachusetts, which is having its primary today, voters do not need to have picked a party to vote.

Not so with Oklahoma, another Super Tuesday state: Only Republicans can vote in Oklahoma’s Republican primary, while the Democratic portion of the contest is open to both Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Over 8,300 changed their party affiliation in the state — almost 4,000 of them became Republicans. Oklahoma saw its registrations surge by almost 30,000 between Jan. 15 and Feb. 5, the last day voters in the state could register before today’s primary.

Oklahoma is far from the only state that has seen the number of voter registrations skyrocket. Alabama, one of several southern states in the Super Tuesday crop, is anticipating a bumper turnout — Secretary of State John Merill told AL.com that his office is looking at “anywhere between 34 percent and 42 percent of the state’s more than 3 million registered voters.”

Some responsibility for these numbers lies with Donald Trump – he’s galvanized new voters and inspired thousands to switch parties. At least, that’s what Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin credits for today’s potentially record turnout. The state’s Democratic executive director Matt Fenlon, meanwhile, cites The Trump Effect for getting Republicans to the polls to vote for anyone in the party except the New York billionaire.

Florida, which holds its closed primary March 15, has already seen several thousand voters switch party affiliation. In Miami-Dade county, the state’s most populous, 9,268 people changed their parties.

In Ohio, one representative introduced a bill which would prevent voters from changing their affiliation within 30 days of a primary election, in addition to parties allowing new members to register within that time frame. It’s meant, in Rep. John Becker’s words to Cleveland.com, to thwart off “shenanigans” — efforts to derail a candidate or prop up another. He was referring specifically to a campaign by Rush Limbaugh in 2008 that was intended to eliminate Barack Obama from winning Ohio — which had a detrimental effect in that state, among others.

As the tallies trickle out tonight and in the coming weeks, we’ll see what really drove thousands of people to switch parties: Are they really there for Trump — or there to stop him?

Photo: Virginia voters line up early to cast their ballots in Super Tuesday elections at the Wilson School in Arlington, Virginia March 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Gary Cameron 

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5 responses to “Thousands Switch Parties Ahead Of Super Tuesday”

  1. Insinnergy says:

    Sweet, sweet Trump.
    Please bring on the destruction of your party.
    You’re already doing so well.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    Unfortunately, there are many more Democrats registering now as Republicans or Independents, than the other way around. Add to this the fact that Bernie supporters are promising not to vote, or vote for Trump, if Hillary is the Democratic party nominee, and to say that we have a problem in our hands would be an understatement.
    We need to get our hands around the anti-establishment sentiment that dominates American politics this election cycle, and we need to determine the reasons a man like Donald Trump is so successful, before it is too late. The GOP establishment dismissed Trump’s chances, and it is paying dearly for it. Let’s not do the same, while there is still time to stop him.

    • charleo1 says:

      This unhinging of the status quo might have been predictable after Bush’s cart hit the ditch, and a seemingly transformational President, was handed the largest Democratic Congress in 50 years. Clearly the American public was demanding change. Instead what they got was the filibuster. Which made Congress look like a tin eared good old boys club of pretenders, shills, and liars. (Mostly true.) And a President that despite fiery speeches, seemed unwilling to go to the mat and really fight the GOP obstructionists, and Democratic enablers for the platform he ran on. Fair, or not, I think that was the perception. Now, what that has wrought has been the unmooring of the electorate’s trust from almost every institution in the country, save the military. And we have no leaders that enjoy widespread trust of any great majority of Americans, save the dead. We have not one person I can think of off hand, where we may disagree, but have no collective doubt of his/her good intentions. None. It once was Colin Powell, but he backed Obama, and that was unforgivable for some. But to the larger point, the public at this point seems determined not to fall again for what many see as the same old mislabeled set of boxes, with the very same smelly junk inside. And now it seems out of a deep frustration, many have stupidly turned to a demagogue. They don’t call us the, “Land of the brave,” for nothing.

    • I of John says:

      Young people may be obstinate enough to pull their votes. I am betting, though, that they wont throw it away with Trump.

  3. Terry Torres says:

    The electorate is dumber, less rational, simultaneously more and less informed, and more argumentative than ever.

    This has been coming for a long time, like a train wreck. We can try and pump the brakes, but will it stop in time?

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