The setup: A close primary, a runoff, a State with open primaries, the ability of a voter to vote for any party. The Execution: Thad Cochran, an establishment Republican running against an upstart Tea Oarty candidate fearing he (Cochran) will lose in the Primary runoff, appeals to Democratic black voters who did not vote in the State's Democratic Primary to vote for him... And he wins the runoff election! What do you think- fair or unfair? I'm not sure if I would categorize this as unfair, but personally if my candidate lost based on this scenario, I'd be bitter. However, I acknowledge that if planned, this would be a very tricky maneuver to pull off especially if you had two people running against each other competitively in your party and you wanted one of them to win their primary. I really don't see this as something that can be orchestrated by a political party reliably, but just was a byproduct of apathetic black voters who suddenly felt a reason to vote, the need to keep a Tea Party candidate out of office. Are open primaries as a rule good or bad? They do give voters more options in not being locked into voting for a single party. Ultimately I'd have to regard this as a good thing.