Idaho has been without a healthy two-party system for over two decades. Idaho is a one-party state in which the position of the ruling party is all but guaranteed. In other one-party systems such as China and Cuba, opposition parties are banned, whereas in Idaho the Democrats have been rendered incapable of getting candidates elected.

In 2012, Idaho changed from open to closed primaries following a lawsuit brought by the ruling Republican party. As a result, independent or unaffiliated voters are now excluded from participating in the nomination contests of the political party that controls the state. One-party states sustained by closed primaries can only produce dictatorial autocracies. A healthy democracy encourages and nurtures larger voting populations.

Idaho Republicans’ closed primary disenfranchises independents unless they register as Republicans. There are still a few of us who have not yet drunk Trump’s toxic Kool-Aid and who would like to see more civility and moderation in politics and politicians who are focused on offering reality-based solutions to actual problems such as state-funded early-childhood education, health care for all Idahoans, mass incarceration, infrastructure repair, etc.

In order for independent voters to continue to have a meaningful voice in helping decide who Idaho’s next governor will be, it is necessary that they register as a Republican and vote in the upcoming Republican gubernatorial primary election.

Idaho’s primary election is May 15. According to state law, registered Democrats must register as a Republican voter by March 9, while unaffiliated voters can register as Republican and get a Republican ballot all on the same day. Don’t allow the Republican closed primary to exclude you from voting in the primary election. Get registered as a Republican. Because, like it or not, that is how the 2018 gubernatorial election in Idaho will be determined.

Ronald James

Twin Falls