The California GOP decided last year to bar independent voters from its presidential primary, and the decision may cost the party dearly, the LA Times reports. Independents are welcome to vote in the Democratic primary—and once they've voted for a party in a primary, they usually stick to it in the general election, experts say.
One Democratic strategist calls the decision a "serious, perhaps fatal error." Independents constitute a record 19.3% of the state's registered voters; with 42.7% Democrats, that leaves the GOP (33.6%) outnumbered by roughly 2 to 1. "It's pretty hard to build a big tent if you don't let anybody else in," said one Republican consultant.