Turnout in Alaska's Closed GOP Senate Primary Demonstrates that the Two-Party State is Incapable of Representing the People of the United States

As you may or may not know, or even care, in the Alaskan Republican primary for US Senate, challenger Joe Miller is maintaining a slight lead over incumbent Lisa Murkowski. The surprising result has led to speculation that Murkowski may pursue a third party or independent run if Miller in fact wins the GOP's nomination. According to comments at IPR, she could run as a write-in candidate, or obtain the Libertarian nomination if she got a nod from the party and their current candidate were to step aside, which is within the realm of possibility, if reports at Hot Air are to be believed.

Needless to say, self-described conservatives who have yet to declare their independence from the Republican faction of the reigning two-party state are none-too-pleased with this development. The Lonely Conservative, for instance, writes:
What is it with these politicians? . . . This is what is so disgusting about politicians. They’re so into themselves they’d rather screw up an election than just go away. This is different than the debacle that was the special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. In that case party bosses chose the most liberal candidate they could find in Dede Scozzafava. The voters had no say in the matter. Primaries are another story. When the voters of a party decide on a candidate the loser should walk away. Those that decide to run as third party candidates really show that they’re in it for themselves, and not the people they say they want to represent. Just look at Charlie Crist in Florida, he didn’t even give Republican voters a chance to tell him to go home.
Reading this, I couldn't help but be reminded of a point that has been made on a number of occasions by Sam Wilson at The Think 3 Institute. Unfortunately, I can't find a specific post at the moment, but the argument goes something like this: if a candidate for public office truly believes she is the best person for the job, shouldn't she have the courage of her convictions and let the voters have their say in the general election rather than allow her course of action to be dictated by a faction of a faction of some party's loyalists?

Far be it from me to come to the defense of Lisa Murkowski. From all appearances she seems to be nothing more than yet another self-entitled specimen of the Democratic-Republican hereditary ruling class. Shortly after being elected to the Alaska House of Representatives, Murkowski was appointed to the US Senate seat she currently holds by her father, who vacated the position when he was elected governor in 2002, whereupon he appointed his daughter to the office in a display of crass nepotism that is all-too-common in US politics today.

Nonetheless, the comment above by the Lonely Conservative perfectly illustrates a delusion common to partisans of the ruling parties that Democratic and Republican primary voters somehow express the will of the people, rather than the delusions of Democratic and Republican primary voters, who comprise a small and dwindling portion of the American electorate.

According to current unofficial results from the Alaska Board of Elections, Joe Miller leads Murkowski by 1668 votes: Miller has 47,027 votes to Murkowski's 45,359. As of April 3, 2010, there were 481,036 registered voters in the state of Alaska: 74,578 Democrats, 124,875 Republicans, 30,184 registered with a minor party and a whopping 251,391 unaffiliated independent voters. (See Pollster.com for totals.) In other words, just under 26% of registered voters in the state of Alaska are Republicans. Miller is currently the projected winner of the GOP primary having garnered the support of only 37.7% of registered Republicans, and the votes of just 9.7% of registered voters!

Because Alaska has closed primaries, 356,161 registered voters were prohibited from expressing their preference in the GOP primary. Thus 74% of registered voters were not allowed to cast a ballot in the race between Miller and Murkowski! Arguably, the only way for someone like Murkowski to demonstrate that she is "in it for the people she says she wants to represent" is for her to run an independent or third party campaign in the general election. It is time we stop pretending that the Democrat-Republican two-party state and duopoly system of government is capable of representing the people of the United States.

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