South Carolina is one of twenty two states that has open primaries. This means that you do not have to be affiliated with a particular party to vote for any candidate. Since South Carolina has declined to hold a Republican primary, instead giving Donald Trump an uncontested victory, Republicans, disgruntled with Trump, can support a strong Democratic candidate they believe can defeat him.
This also means that those who back Trump can throw their support behind someone they perceive to be a weaker candidate, hoping to disrupt the Democratic nomination.
In 2008 Rush Limbaugh (yeah THAT Rush Limbaugh) launched what he called “Operation Chaos”. The objective was to weaken the candidacies of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama by splitting the vote so neither could win the nomination. He encouraged Republicans in states with open primaries to spread this idea as a way of preventing Democrats from winning the White House.
This attempt obviously failed, but it didn’t stop him from attempting to use the same strategy in 2012. With President Obama being the incumbent, it also was doomed to failure.
Now, there are signs that Republicans wills try to employ the same strategy in the upcoming South Carolina primary by having Republicans vote for candidates they don’t believe can beat Trump.
Having an open primary does allow more voters, particularly independents, to have a say in who they want as a candidate. It was designed with this purpose in mind.
Unfortunately, like so many political machinations, Republicans are trying, once again, to twist this to their advantage.
On February 29th, it is important to make your vote count. It is equally important that we preserve the integrity of the electoral process.