Maurice S. Emmer September 10, 2021
Aspen, CO 81611
Colorado State GOP Central Committee
Re: Opting Out of Open Primaries
Many eloquent and earnest arguments have been made for or against opting out of an open primary in 2022. I respect all the views and everyone’s right to hold them passionately. Please consider my reasons for asking you to vote in favor of opting out in 2022.
Since mail voting and open primaries have arrived, the Colorado GOP has spiraled down. The party’s main job is to win elections. The evidence is in: open primaries don’t help win elections. So why have them? Said to demonstrate the party’s “big tent,” open primaries are used by our opponents to influence candidate selection against us. If you believe as I do that such manipulation should be prevented, then open primaries must end. The question is how.
We all know an unfair state law discourages opting out by (1) requiring a 75% vote of the central committee and (2) depriving the party of a closed primary if we do opt out. The latter obstacle rightly is cited widely as a reason not to opt out. But it begs the question: when will the party be willing to skip a primary as a price of opting out of an open primary? If never, then the party is doomed to perpetual victimization and erosion, and we might as well quit discussing it.
Or we can act now. The real solution is to have the law held invalid. No one has even tried. A legal challenge will be bolstered by a strong central committee message that it opposes not just open primaries, but the entire legal scheme that locks the party into open primaries. So here is my ask.
Vote in favor of opting out. If the vote falls short of 75% but is a strong majority, that will lay the foundation for the party’s commitment, in the form of resolution or otherwise, to challenge the law in court. And it won’t eliminate a primary altogether in 2022. If you vote in favor of opting out and the 75% threshold is met, so much the better. The course will be set; it will be all hands on deck. Do the best possible in 2022 while suing to overturn the law.
Or you can vote against opting out. And we will find ourselves in the same pickle in two years, probably even deeper down the spiral.
Maurice S. Emmer