Julian Carroll Still Has An “Independent” Problem

Last night, while getting drunk at a fundraiser for 38th Democratic Senate District candidate Marty Meyer (to whom I contributed nothing financially), I ran into Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Anderson. Or rather, he ran into me.

You may remember that Carroll was featured in a CNN story earlier this year about Kentucky’s closed primary system, wherein the ancient legislator barked “if you don’t like it, then move to another country!” When I reminded him of this, Carroll, who sources say never travels without a “handler” (there was oneĀ  individual who never left Carroll’s side that many people in attendance had pointed out as being such), attempted to deny that he ever said he wanted people to leave, then backpeddled when I mentioned the CNN story.

“I should’ve never said that,” he told me before launching into a spiel about why I, a registered independent, should nonetheless join the Democratic party if I want to vote in a primary. When I pointed out to him that the closed system disenfranchises tens of thousands of voters who (A) don’t like either party but who (B) are nonetheless saddled with those parties’ candidates in general elections, he told me I should (wait for it…) join a party if I don’t like it.

“But that defeats the purpose of being an independent,” I said. “I shouldn’t have to join a party to have an influence on primaries, which squeeze out anti-establishment candidates anyway and force the electorate with a false choice come November.”

“That’s not how democracy works,” he replied.

Hmmm. Maybe he’s right. What the hell do I know, anyway?


  1. JR
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    If you don’t want to join a party, why do you think you have a right to influence who the party selects as its candidate? Why exactly is the idea that parties shouldn’t allow nonmembers or members of other parties to choose their candidates “utter bullshit”?

    You think registering as a member of a party undermines “the point” of being a registered independent. What exactly IS the point of being a registered independent?

    It seems to me that registering as an independent is mostly about declaring a cultural identity, or marking an unwillingness to be associated with either party. But one’s political registration isn’t a public statement or identity; it mostly just defines which party’s primary you can vote in. That is the major effect of registering as a member of a party.

    Who cares whether you like a party, or don’t like either party? It’s just a declaration of which primary you’re likely to want to vote in.

    What I don’t understand is why independents don’t register but change their registration routinely depending on which primary looks more interesting. The deadline to change registration for a primary is December 31; why not just switch every year depending on how you feel at the time?

  2. Ed Springston
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps because independents pay taxes too which funds these primary races. Using your logic why don’t the parties pay for their own primaries if it is a closed group? Should those who have no say have to pay for it anyway?

    It won’t happen. Neither party would want to spend their money on primaries so do the logical thing and allow ALL taxpayers their right to vote regardless of party or non party affiliation.

    I was there with CNN when they talked with Carroll never had I witnessed such an arrogant old party fool before.

  3. Cut The Crap
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry the only thing I got out of this post was that you got into a drunken fight with Julian Carroll.
    Here’s a little Journalism lesson for the future. If you want to cover politics legitamentally and be an “independent” member of the press, you probably shouldn’t be getting drunk on a campaign’s dime while you’re working.
    I’m sure you idolize HST, but he had a little more style then just saying he had a few and picked a fight. The valid point of your story is lost by your own arrogance in the first 2 sentences of this piece. Better luck next time.

  4. JR
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Ed, independent voters aren’t barred from voting in the primaries: They can vote in nonpartisan city and judicial elections. They merely can’t vote in the party primary.

    It’s true that most primary voting takes place within the party system, but registered independents have so declared their disinterest in participating in the party system. If they don’t want to belong to a political party, why should they get to choose a party’s nominee?

    It just seems like whining about the consequences of willful choices.

  5. Ed Springston
    Posted May 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    JR I know how the process works but the point remains the same. Because one chooses not to align themselves with a party should not bar them from voting in a primary to choose who will represent us all.

    The winners of the primary elections will be the choices that are forced upon the independents to choose from in the General and since their tax money is paying for this primary as well as ours they should have a legitimate voice in who that representative will be.

    If the parties want the only choice to be theirs then they should pay for it accordingly. In the general they love to court the independents for votes so it is hypocritical at best to exclude them from the primaries.

  6. drp
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    yes, it is very exclusionary for primaries to be funded by everyone, yet only dems and repubs be allowed to vote.
    i am a registered independent, though i can’t say that i’m in favor of open primaries, either.
    when i lived in georgia, they had open primaries and what happened was repubs would vote for the absolute worst dem on in the primaries and the dems would vote for the worst repubs on the ticket, both hoping to bump up the numbers for horrible candidates that their party would be able to beat easier in the general elections. what you get stuck with are two horrible candidates in the end.
    what i think should happen is either more independent candidates need to be encouraged to run for offices, or at the very least, let registered independent voters select one party or another for which they can vote for.

  7. ctk
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    then best solution is to have a semi-open primary. independents who wish to vote in a primary may do so, but they will only be allowed either the democratic or republican ballot. those already registered in either of the two major parties will not be allowed to vote in the other party’s primary.

    that way if anyone wants to promote funny business in a primary, they would have to get a bunch of people to reregister as unaffiliated.

  8. Ed Springston
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Exactly and SB 53 that was passed through the Senate and gnored by th eHouse would have done exactly that. It was to allow a semi open primary. Well said.

  9. South Ender
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Primaries are held to primarily BENEFIT the Republicans and Democrats.

    However, taxpayers have to PAY FOR this special benefit for these two political parties.

    Tradition aside, WHY should this hot mess continue?

    All kinds of hell usually gets raised when “public funds” are used to benefit some group that is perceived to have a special agenda.

    KY law needs to be changed:
    If the parties want to have a closed primary, then they should PAY FOR IT.

    If the taxpayers have to pay for primaries, then the primaries need some form of OPENESS.

    How come no one ever talks about the possibility of NON-PARTISAN elections? Throw every candidate into a PRIMARY. Then have a runoff election a few weeks later for the top 2 or 3 finshers.

    Lexington has NON-PARTISAN elections for their City Council. So do many, many other cities in the U.S.

    What say ye?