Kennedy inspiring a crossover voting movement – News Block

By Alicia Giordano

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is inspiring a crossover voting movement among Republicans similar to those seen in past presidential primaries but with a twist.

Janice Foster, currently a registered Republican in Lexington, Kentucky, told The Epoch Times that she is registering Democrats to vote in the primary not because she sees RFK Jr. as an easier candidate for her party to beat in the general election, but because he sees him as a better candidate for the United States than President Joe Biden.

“I prefer Kennedy to Biden,” Ms. Foster said. “I’d rather sacrifice my vote for a Republican than not do my part to make sure he doesn’t run for office again.”

In crossover voting, which can only occur in states with open primaries, voters switch parties to vote in the opposite primary, usually in an effort to put their weaker candidate on the ballot and then switch votes for the candidate. of his original party in the general election.

There are currently 20 states with open or semi-open primaries. They include South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois.

Semi-open primaries allow unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary of the party of their choice without affiliation with the party.

President Joe Biden (left) and First Lady Jill Biden (right) arrive on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on May 30, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

There are also several states like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York that have semi-closed primaries, allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in either primary, but must register with that party on primary voting day.

Registered Republican Erin Fortin, a native of Maine, where lawmakers passed a law last year that made the state’s primary semi-open, told The Epoch Times that she is “closing her eyes” and going back to being a Democratic voter because she he also wants to help further Mr. Kennedy’s chances of beating Mr. Biden for the nomination.

“For me, the primaries now are more about protecting America against the other party’s worst candidate than trying to promote the underdog for party gain,” said Ms Fortin, who said she was a registered democrat for life until the pandemic.

There have been several major attempts in modern politics to use one party’s crossover vote to put a weaker candidate on the opposing party’s ticket to increase their party’s chances of winning in the presidential race.

The two most prominent were dubbed Operation Chaos and the first was led by the now-deceased conservative talk show giant Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh launched the crossover campaign in an effort to give Hillary Clinton a victory over Barack Obama with the idea that she could not beat the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.

Despite Mr. Limbaugh’s efforts, Obama won the primaries and the White House.

The second was led by the Tea Party Republicans in South Carolina in 2020 with Biden as the ultimate goal.

According to an article in The Greenville News, the Greenville Republican Party asked its supporters to pick the Democratic nominee, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and “vote for the worst Democrat.”

The scheme did not work. Biden not only landslideed the South Carolina Democratic primary, he also won the presidency.

Senator Sanders eventually dropped out of the race after losing in several primaries.

Democrats in South Carolina and Michigan had hatched a similar crossover campaign two decades earlier, in 2000, in the race between Senator McCain and George W. Bush.

Hundreds of Democrats in both states registered as Republicans in an effort to give Sen. McCain the party’s nomination on the grounds that it would be easier to defeat him to their party’s candidate, Al Gore.

That crossover effort also failed, and Bush became president.

In 2022, TargetSmart, which bills itself as the “nation’s leading Democratic research and analytics company,” conducted an in-depth study on crossvoting and concluded that it “rarely occurs in large enough numbers to influence the result of any primary”.

But Carla Gericke, a prominent figure in libertarian politics, told The Epoch Times that crossover voters have a unique scenario going for them.

“We have an incumbent president with a historically low approval rating and a Democratic challenger with a historically high approval rating from both Republicans and Independents,” Ms. Gericke told The Epoch Times.

Ms. Gericke, founder of the Free State Project, a grassroots campaign to attract thousands of libertarians to New Hampshire, said she has heard cross-sector efforts are underway “all over” to push for a Kennedy victory over Biden in the primaries

Ms Gericke said Mr Kennedy has “particularly growing appeal” among libertarians who typically vote Republican in primaries, mainly because of his strong position against government shutdowns during the pandemic.

“Not even Trump really took a strong position,” he said.

Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., on July 15, 2023. (Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images)

As a lifelong independent voter who has always leaned conservative, Diana Lane told The Epoch Times that for the first time she will be registering as a Democrat in a presidential primary so she can support Kennedy.

The mother-of-two said she was forced to homeschool her two young children in Maine due to the state’s inflexible vaccination mandates. She said that she wants a candidate like Mr. Kennedy who recognizes people’s right to medical freedom.

While he doesn’t like that Kennedy supports gun control and abortion, he said, he can live with those drawbacks in exchange for someone who is honest with Americans.

She believes that conservative voters like her, who worry that President Donald Trump is too divisive, see Kennedy as a necessity to win the primary to protect themselves against another Biden term.

“I can’t trust anything that comes out of the Biden White House,” he said, “Kennedy is really the safety net against four more years of that unreliability.”

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