Separated at birth: Idaho GOPpers and Hawaii Dems?

The purist instincts of the right wing of the Idaho Republican Party are being replicated by the left wing of the Hawaii Democratic Party, reports Boise State’s emeritus political scientist Jim Weatherby.

In an online column for Ridenbaugh Press, Weatherby writes:

“Mirroring Idaho Republicans, Hawaii Democrats recently filed suit in US District Court to keep the crossover undesirables from voting in their primary. And again as in Idaho, many elected officials, Democrats in this case, opposed the lawsuit. According to Governor Neil Abercrombie (D), ‘the Democrats have been inclusive, drawing strength from bringing together a diversity of people and perspectives.’ But those in support of the lawsuit thought a closed primary would ‘ensure Democrats are elected at the primary stage by their fellow Democrats’ and that the potential for crossover voting in the open primary weakened the party and made it more difficult for its views to be seriously considered. Sound familiar? Different set of actors, same dialogue, and same play!”

Weatherby continues, “In Idaho there’s fear that the radical right, empowered by a closed primary, will overreach and in Hawaii there are similar fears of the excesses of the radical left.

“Closed primaries in states with a one-party system typically produce more extreme candidates – and it appears that’s the goal of hard core activists in both Idaho and Hawaii.”

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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