The Feb. 28 Michigan presidential primary is getting more interesting compared to just a few weeks ago.
For one thing, Michigan Democrats are now being encouraged to participate. The primary, created by the majority Republicans in the Legislature, will cost taxpayers $10 million. Michigan Democrats had argued that in tough economic times, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the nominating process and urged both parties to hold caucuses instead. Michigan Democrats have scheduled their caucuses for nominating President Obama for May 5.
The Republicans refused to go along, and to disguise the fact that the $10 million primary contest is just for their party, added President Obama's name to the ballot against the wishes of the MDP. If the president asked his name to be removed, there was a chance his name would not be on the ballot in November because of the way Republicans wrote the law.
Since party rules don't allow people to participate in two nominating contests, there was a chance people who voted in February wouldn't be able to participate in the party's own caucuses in May. So earlier this month, the Michigan Democratic Party changed its rules so that its members are free to participate in both the primary and the May 5 caucuses. But since it is a closed primary, voters must request either a Democratic or Republican ballot.
That requirement may deter some people from crossing over and voting in the other party's primary, which is definitely not something the MDP is advocating. But the temptation to do so may be greater for some people now that Michigan native Mitt Romney seems to be losing his commanding position in the race.
On Monday (Feb. 13, 2012), for example a new poll out from ARG shows Rick Santorum with a six-point lead over Romney in Michigan.
People like a horserace so it's possible people will be drawn to vote in that primary, especially since they know they can still support President Obama in May.