The Democrats have a history of promoting this sort of thing. Arlen Specter, Like Jim Jeffords before him, betrayed the party members in his home state who elected him and crossed over to the Democrats. He did not do so with noble purpose from what I have read. He did so because he was going to lose a primary election:
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.
Specter’s decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next senator from Minnesota. (Former senator Norm Coleman is appealing Franken’s victory in the state Supreme Court.)
“I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary,” said Specter in a statement. “I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.”
He added: “Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”
Not a word of even feigned contrition for the voters he betrayed. And yes, I am using that word specifically and with intent. I have never been a big fan of politicians – from any party – doing this. Changing parties after one’s election is showing vast disrespect for the voters who stood by the politician and helped him get into office.
Changing parties prior to an election is perfectly acceptable, changing after the election is dishonorable.