by Max Brantley
It is an article of Arkansas Republican faith that liberal Democrats, crossing over to the Republican primary in 1990, particularly in Pulaski County, cost Tommy Robinson the Republican gubernatorial nomination. It went instead to Sheffield Nelson, who was beaten by Bill Clinton in the fall.
There's no doubt there was some crossover in 1990, though I've never seen the definitive academic analysis that convinced me the crossover was decisive. Remember that Tommy Robinson was a known certifiable loon. Sheffield Nelson was a good-suit Republican.
But the idea of crossover mischief lingers. A Republican operative of my acquaintance is wondering about trying to encourage Democrats to cross over and vote against Mike Huckabee Super Tuesday. My thinking is that it's a very long shot. Most Democrats have strong preferences and will be reluctant to throw away a vote to do Republican mischief. They might also presume that Huckabee is overwhelmingly likely to carry the state anyway, so they'd throw away a vote for no purpose.
My Republican friend thinks Huckabee doesn't have a lock on Arkansas. He also thinks there'll be strong opposition to Huckabee in the Shiite Republican neighborhoods of Northwest Arkansas, long disaffected by Huckabee's coziness with Democrats on taxes and big government, not to mention his softness on immigrants. Finally, the vote will be very small in the Republican primary. Move 10,000 voters into the camp of John McCain or Mitt Romney and it could bruise the favorite son.
That's one man's thinking anyway. Sounds like wishful thinking to me. What do you think?