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Olga Bonfiglio Headshot

Is this Any Way to Nominate A Presidential Candidate?

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Tuesday is Michigan's Republican primary, in which state residents of any party affiliation can vote, and the shenanigans going on may have a serious impact on the Republicans' nomination for president.

Many Democrats are planning to vote for Santorum because they believe a match up between him and Obama would deliver a sure win to the Dems in November. Others refuse to play this game, fearing the possibility of a Santorum win in the presidency.

A statement on the Michigan Democratic party website says that it is Republicans who have invited Democrats to vote in the February 28 primary, noting that GOP Senators Rick Jones and Arlan Meekhof extended the invitation yesterday, and offering this video clip as proof.

The post has MDP Chair Mark Brewer asserting, "Democrats who accept this invitation will still be able to vote in our May 5th caucuses...If Democratic crossover votes affect the results on February 28th, Republicans will have no one but themselves to blame."

The official position of the Michigan Democratic Party, however, seems to have been that Dems should not vote in the GOP primary. The Kalamazoo County Democratic Party (KCDP) is mum on this, like the other county parties in the state. Nevertheless, many people here have been talking to each other about doing the deed. KCDP is planning a Presidential Primary Watch Potluck Tuesday night, and some people will likely arrive fresh from 'the other side.'

Joe DiSano, long-time veteran of Michigan politics, blatantly encouraged Democrats to vote for Santorum in an editorial last week in order to "embarrass" Romney.

Former Governor John Engler, a Republican, said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos that the UAW is encouraging its members to vote for Santorum, too. Both he and current Governor Rick Snyder are backing Romney.

Then there's the Rick Santorum for President Campaign. It sent a robo call to Michigan Democrats on Monday morning asking them to vote for Santorum because Romney was in favor of bailing out Wall Street Bankers, but not the auto industry.

In the afternoon the Red, White and Blue Fund, the Superpac supporting Santorum, pointed out Romney's flip flop on abortion.

A lot of money is being spent here. Romney and Restore our Future have spent $3.2 million while Santorum and the Red White and Blue Fund have spent $1.1 million.

Romney came to Kalamazoo last Friday and Santorum will visit on Monday night.

Despite all of these efforts, the election is likely to pull only a small number of voters to the polls. Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow expects only a 20 to 30 percent turnout in this county that has a huge Republican population and a big pro-life contingent.

The primary process has me baffled. Is it really working as it was intended?

Olga Bonfiglio is a citizen journalist in Kalamazoo. If you'd like to report in from the campaigns in your area, please contact us at www.offthebus.org.

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