Donald Trump poll numbers often come accompanied by “huge” support from Independent voters, but as it turns out that support could mean nothing if it’s in a closed primary state, provided the supporter hasn’t taken the necessary precautions to vote for the GOP frontrunner.
Just what are those “necessary precautions”?
Put simply, they entail registering as a Republican regardless of whether the voter actually is or not.
That’s why many political pundits are adopting a “wait-and-see” approach before believing the hype surrounding the impressive Trump poll numbers.
“Support” in a poll and an actual vote are two different things, and it is difficult enough getting voters to show up on election day let alone a primary for a party they may or may not be affiliated with.
Donald Trump has the added headache of not just getting his supporters to show up, but actually getting them to register as Republicans prior to voting day if they haven’t already.
And it’s a headache that will exist for Trump, to some degree, in 35 of the 50 U.S. states.
The only states, per FairVote, that allow voters to vote in a primary regardless of affiliation — so-called “open primary” states — are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Of those, Hawaii uses a caucus system for presidential races.
If you consider yourself one of the Independent Donald Trump supporters living in a state not mentioned on that list, then you can “support” his ideas all day, but you won’t be allowed to vote for him unless he wins the primary and ends up in the general election.
It’s a concern that has some on the Donald Trump Facebook page urging their fellow Independents to get out and officially register as Republican. It’s also something that Trump himself has been concerned about as he pushes nearer to the first primary vote of the 2016 election season.
Bloomberg reported that at the end of December, Trump made this plea to his supporters, particularly the Independent voters, telling them, “There’s a big movement to put you at the back of the pack or in the middle of the pack.
“I don’t know why. Is it retribution? You have a lot of power.”
It was a statement that played into what many have called a strength of Donald Trump — empowering individual voters to let their voices be heard. He even has a term for them — “the silent majority.”
There is the thinking on the part of Trump and his campaign that the voters, who feel so disenfranchised that they seldom show up at the polls, will turn out in unexpected droves to make sure that he gets the White House.
On paper, it is brilliant and exactly what he needs to be doing since the establishment part of the Republican party is reluctant to lend their support. But until his efforts can be seen in action, it will be too early to tell if they are successful.
Still, the Donald Trump campaign has defied the experts at every turn. When he signed onto the “birther” movement during the campaign for the 2012 election, many felt he’d doomed himself politically.
However, he has been able to play into Americans’ fears of a terrorist attack, their frustration with a broken immigration system, and their anger over money in politics to set himself apart from the pack.
He has also enamored himself to many voters by saying what he thinks without a “political filter.”
But what do you think, readers? Will Donald Trump be able to use those strengths to get people registered as Republicans and voting in the primary, or will the closed primaries be his undoing?