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Democratic Voters in Michigan Make Mischief in GOP Primary

If widespread Democratic support for Rick Santorum's candidacy isn't a sign that the 2012 Mayan apocalypse is real then I don't know what is.

That's right, Democratic voters in the Wolverine state are turning out for the Republican presidential primary in suspiciously high numbers. They are also almost all pulling the lever for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Could it be that Michigan Democrats have all done a categorical about face on every major issue of conscience in American politics today? As plausible as that scenario sounds, a rallying call from liberal talk radio host Tony Trupiano suggests an alternate explanation.

Trupiano spent an entire three hours of radio programming urging Democratic voters to take advantage of Michigan's open primary and cast a vote for Rick Santorum - a vote designed more to hobble Mitt "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" Romney than to actually propel Santorum to the presidency.

"Because Rick Santorum is doing as well as he is doing here in the polls, we could actually take some serious delegates away from [Mitt Romney]," explained Trupiano. "What that really does is it gives America a little more time to get to know these candidates. And don't for a minute tell me we haven't learned a lot more about all of them in the last six weeks. What more can we learn six weeks from now?"

Right. I'm sure Trupiano just wants to give the electorate a little more time to get to know the candidates.

Or could it be that the Democratic party is crossing its fingers for Santorum to be the nominee? It's no surprise that Democrats view Santorum as the more beatable candidate. He polls well behind President Obama in all the important swing states and has a terrible habit of publicly articulating the things he believes.

Santorum's politics place him somewhere to the right of the Afghan Taliban. Michigan Democrats know they can make a little mischief for the Republicans by helping Santorum defeat Mitt Romney in Romney's home state.

This strategy of flooding the polls with opposite party voters to pump up the numbers of an undesirable candidate is nothing knew. Rush Limbaugh tried to encourage similar misbehavior in 2008 when he instructed Republican listeners nationwide to vote in open primaries for then-Senator Hillary Clinton. Limbaugh's "Operation Mayhem" ultimately failed, as President Obama went on to wrap up the Democratic nomination in early March and the Presidency in an electoral landslide.

Common wisdom suggest that efforts like this rarely have any effect on the ultimate outcome of an election, but this election season has been anything but common. With Santorum and Romney running neck-and-neck in Michigan and record low turn-outs among Republican voters, Democratic activists may just tip the scales for Big Rick.

Do you think it's cynical for Democratic voters to vote for a candidate they don't really support? Or is "all fair in love and politics?"


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