Recently, there has been a lot of news surrounding so-called ‘mainstream Republicans’ encouraging Democrat voters to disingenuously change their party registration and vote in the upcoming Republican primary next May.

While I would prefer to simply ignore such a message, it appears that the ‘mainstream media’ simply won’t let this story die. This is raising concerns amongst the rank-and-file Republican voters as to what the official position of the Idaho Republican Party is regarding cross-over voting in primary elections. Here’s some background. In 2012, the governor of Idaho signed into law a bill, passed by both chambers of the Idaho Legislature, which gave all political parties in the State of Idaho the ability to choose what type of primary they would like to hold. The Republican Party chose to protect our “freedom of association”.

So, in every primary election since 2012, the Idaho Republican Party has held primary elections where only registered Republicans can vote, not Democrats, not independents, not those unaffiliated, just Republicans. Remember, all political parties are independent entities. They receive no government funds or taxes, they elect their own leaders and write their own bylaws, policies and platform.

Why does this historical context matter? History matters because it illuminates what or who is truly ‘mainstream’ within the Idaho Republican Party. If you look up the word mainstream in the dictionary you will find a definition along the lines of “the ideas, attitudes, or activities that are regarded as normal or conventional.”

What could be more mainstream than conducting a primary election by the book, according to the rules?

What could be more mainstream than following the rules set forth by party leaders from all 44 counties, a majority of elected legislators, and a popularly elected governor? What could be more unconventional, more abnormal, and more unbecoming of a Republican than to encourage voters to, in essence, cheat the system? So, when journalists report that so-called ‘mainstream Republicans’ are saying do this or that in regard to voting in a primary election, please consider carefully who they are and whether they are representative of the party as a whole or are merely speaking as individual citizens.

Do any of these so-called ‘mainstream Republicans,’ of which there are only two cited in the news, currently, hold an elected office or position of leadership within the party? Are any of them members of the State Central Committee? Are any of them elected chairmen of a county central committee? Are any of them even elected as precinct committeemen? The answer to all these questions is no. If people are really concerned about the types of voters turning out to vote in the Republican Primary, then the solution is clear. Persuade more of your fellow Republicans to vote the way you view is best for our party and our state.

Frankly, if you truly cared about the battle for ‘the soul of the Republican Party,’ you wouldn’t advocate for non-Republicans to infiltrate our party and skew the results. The fact is, you aren’t going to change the political landscape by pounding on a keyboard and spitting out op-ed’s or doing “lay-up” interviews with a complicit reporter. You must get involved in the political process. That means rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work of actually working for the candidate of your choice, like knocking on doors, making phone calls, and getting the vote out.

That’s how elections are won. They aren’t won by gaming the system and encouraging others who don’t have the best interests of the Republican Party to muck around in our primaries.