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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A tip for Republicans: Reregister

Written November 27th, 2012 by

Here’s an idea for all those Republicans still smarting over the results of the general election. They may feel discouraged because everything they hear and read tells them they have to change their views on some things if they ever want to win elections again. That seems to be true across the country as the makeup of the electorate has changed, and it’s certainly true in Oregon, where the Democratic strongholds led by Portland keep gaining in clout. The losers in this last election object that they can’t change their principles. Of course not. But they can change their labels. Political labels have been turned around completely within little more than a single generation. In Oregon and to some extent nationally, Republicans used to be the ones who called themselves progressives. Think of Tom McCall and the other leading Republicans in Oregon in the 1960s and ’70s. Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood and Norma Paulus come to mind. Nobody would have called them conservatives, let alone right-wingers. And for a long time one of the most conservative members of the state Senate, May Yih of Albany, was a Democrat. So why worry about the labels? Which leads me to my idea, an idea that all those disappointed and disgruntled Republicans might want to consider. Let them keep their principles but change their registration. Let them all reregister as Democrats. Then in the next primary, they together with the remaining conservatives who have remained Democrats all these years, might be in a position to affect who runs for office in this state and who eventually wins. (hh)


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