Markell’s tactic cited as way for Democrats to save GOP

June 25, 2013

Who will save the Republican Party?

According to one writer, Democrats. Last week a friend sent a link to a story by Matt Miller of the Washington Post.

Miller laments the recent implosions of the GOP, which have cleared the Republican Party of moderates. There’s only the right and far right, or perhaps the far right and the rabidly far right. (Locally, though, we have state Sen. Ernie Lopez. It will be interesting to see if he can flourish within the GOP with something less than a lockstep conservative image, as shown by his votes on a gun bill and the death penalty.)

But why would Democrats want to save the GOP? Because the intra-party battles harm not only the Republican Party, they ultimately harm the country. House Republicans are so fearful of facing a primary from the right, they’re unable to pass legislation even they know they need, such as an immigration bill.

Miller’s idea is for Democrats, in races where they’re going to lose the general election anyway, to change their registration to allow them to vote in Republican primaries. This would allow the newly minted Republicans to vote for the more moderate GOP candidates.

As an example of this tactic, Miller cited a politician from across the aisle, our own Democratic Gov. Jack Markell.

Markell, he wrote, knew that he would have a better chance in the general election than in the primary against John Carney, who received most of the establishment support.

The Markell campaign focused on getting Independents and Republicans to switch parties to help him win the primary.

That effort was successful: The Markell campaign persuaded 3,500 Republicans and Independents to change party registration. Markell won the primary by 1,700 votes.

In Delaware, of course, it’s unlikely Democrats would switch party registration to exert a moderating influence in the Republican Party primaries. The idea would only have appeal if the Democrats figured they were going to lose anyway in the general election.

But, nationally, it’s a bad sign for Republicans when Democrats are talking about ways to save your party.

At DMV, life in the fast lane

If there’s an agency as roundly criticized as the IRS, it’s the state Division of Motor Vehicles. It doesn’t seem to matter what state.

So it’s only fair to mention when a state agency performs well. Last week, I got my car inspected at the DMV office in Georgetown.

Arriving early on a Thursday afternoon, I had virtually no wait. The three DMV employees I spoke with - one at the inspection lanes, two inside the offices - were all helpful and polite. I was in and out in 20 minutes.

The next day I received, as promised, an email telling me that I would be alerted by another email when my car was due for its next inspection. Getting your car inspected can’t be counted as one of life’s pleasures -there’s always that fear they’ll find something wrong with your car - but the agency performed its job quickly and efficiently.

Life in the slow lane

It’s been nearly a month since John Sigler resigned as state GOP chair, but he’s still listed as chairman on the party website. There’s no mention of his resignation, not even on the chairman’s blog.

And Nelly Jordan of Sussex County, who was elected as the party’s vice chair at this spring’s GOP convention, still isn’t listed as the acting chair, which she will be until a special election is held.

Common problem supports reason behind Common Core

A few weeks ago I mentioned the success of the U.S. military in educating people from all backgrounds and regions as a reason for backing national standards, such as those established by Common Core curriculum.

Later I saw a writer mention another connection with our armed services: the experience of military families who travel from school district to school district all over the country. Many are dismayed to find big differences in standards. In some districts, the kids find themselves way ahead; in others, far behind.

If you stay and have your children educated in one area, you might not understand the problem.

I heard another example last week. I was talking to someone who had lived all over the country. Before coming here, this person’s children had attended a school district with tougher standards than Delaware. As a result, the kids, who were finishing high school, didn’t learn much during their last years of secondary education.

That’s no way to prepare our students for the future. Students should have to meet certain standards no matter where they live.

  • A number of accomplished writers will be appearing in the Politics column every Tuesday on a rotating basis to explore the dynamic world of politics at the local, county, state, national and world levels.

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