Will Operation Chaos resurface in upcoming Democrat primaries?

Chaos might be ready to descend on two more Democrat primary states this month.  When you watch the returns from the primaries in New Hampshire (February 11) and South Carolina (February 29), realize that the vote for Bernie Sanders may be inflated.  And no, it's not that the Bernie Bros have seized control of the voting mechanisms or that the state Democrat parties have again screwed up the counting, although who's to say they won't?  Rather, it's that many motivated Republicans might well be making a concerted effort to see their state's pledged delegates go to the one who they perceive will be the weakest Democrat opponent for President Trump in November — and that would be Crazy Bernie. 

This is possible with South Carolina's 54 pledged delegates because the Palmetto State conducts what's called an "open primary."  This means voters do not have to register for a political party and can cast their ballots in any primary of their choosing.  This is amplified because the Republican Party of South Carolina will not hold a primary this year.  This leaves Republicans free to vote for a Democrat without having to sacrifice the chance to vote for Donald Trump in their own primary.

New Hampshire has 24 pledged Democrat delegates.  There, the story is about the same but a little less so.  The Granite State does not have an open primary.  However, almost half of the state's voters are undeclared, giving them the option of voting in either party's primary.  "There is no contest on the Republican side this year, so Trump supporters can cross over and vote for the guy who looks easiest to beat, which is the self-proclaimed democratic socialist from neighboring Vermont."

Political scientists use highfalutin language to describe such an action as "strategic negative voting."  But as many of you may remember, back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh urged just such a thing.  He called on Republicans in Pennsylvania to cross party lines and vote for Hillary as a means of extending the Democrat primary and weakening Barack Obama's momentum.  He called it "Operation Chaos."  It must have had some effect, because Mrs. Clinton coasted to a 10-percent victory in the Pennsylvania primary. 

In both in New Hampshire and South Carolina, there are Tea Party and other conservative groups egging Republicans on to participate in Operation Chaos.  And given how fired up the Republican base is this year, such an urging is likely to fall on fertile ground.  The talking heads on cable may not even be aware of this in their post-election analyses, given how encased they are in their own echo chamber.  It will be interesting to watch.

Image: Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons.

Chaos might be ready to descend on two more Democrat primary states this month.  When you watch the returns from the primaries in New Hampshire (February 11) and South Carolina (February 29), realize that the vote for Bernie Sanders may be inflated.  And no, it's not that the Bernie Bros have seized control of the voting mechanisms or that the state Democrat parties have again screwed up the counting, although who's to say they won't?  Rather, it's that many motivated Republicans might well be making a concerted effort to see their state's pledged delegates go to the one who they perceive will be the weakest Democrat opponent for President Trump in November — and that would be Crazy Bernie. 

This is possible with South Carolina's 54 pledged delegates because the Palmetto State conducts what's called an "open primary."  This means voters do not have to register for a political party and can cast their ballots in any primary of their choosing.  This is amplified because the Republican Party of South Carolina will not hold a primary this year.  This leaves Republicans free to vote for a Democrat without having to sacrifice the chance to vote for Donald Trump in their own primary.

New Hampshire has 24 pledged Democrat delegates.  There, the story is about the same but a little less so.  The Granite State does not have an open primary.  However, almost half of the state's voters are undeclared, giving them the option of voting in either party's primary.  "There is no contest on the Republican side this year, so Trump supporters can cross over and vote for the guy who looks easiest to beat, which is the self-proclaimed democratic socialist from neighboring Vermont."

Political scientists use highfalutin language to describe such an action as "strategic negative voting."  But as many of you may remember, back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh urged just such a thing.  He called on Republicans in Pennsylvania to cross party lines and vote for Hillary as a means of extending the Democrat primary and weakening Barack Obama's momentum.  He called it "Operation Chaos."  It must have had some effect, because Mrs. Clinton coasted to a 10-percent victory in the Pennsylvania primary. 

In both in New Hampshire and South Carolina, there are Tea Party and other conservative groups egging Republicans on to participate in Operation Chaos.  And given how fired up the Republican base is this year, such an urging is likely to fall on fertile ground.  The talking heads on cable may not even be aware of this in their post-election analyses, given how encased they are in their own echo chamber.  It will be interesting to watch.

Image: Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons.