I used to. I used to get all worked up for primaries. I considered them critical to the legitimacy of my choice in November. Then my attitude slowly changed as my “lean” changed.
To give a bit of a recap on my political journey… I started off as a solid Republican. Not whack-jobbish like today or a Tea Partier, but solidly conservative per the dictionary definition, not the extreme political definition. Then slow but sure I went more Libertarian. Even as a Republican I always had a strong streak of belief in personal liberty and freedom. I mean, as long as you’re not hurting others, why can’t people simply be left alone?
Libertarianism has its faults, too, I found out. The hard core Libertarians are out of touch with reality and, in my opinion, don’t have the slightest clue about human nature. So as I became disenchanted with that I started feeling that I belonged in the center. There are issues where I take the hard-line conservative side, and there are issues where I take the hard-line liberal side. Many issues I am a mix-and-match. Do not mistake me for a moderate. A moderate is still of one of the two major parties, just less fervent. I am not that, as I just now explained.
Anyway, it was around the mid-to-late 1990s that I changed my voter registration to “Decline to state”… not ‘Independent’, as that is a party itself… and I have been so ever since. And here’s is why I refuse to participate in primaries: I do not want either party to claim me as a supporter in any way, shape, or form. My utter disdain for both major parties is such that I do not want either party to count me as a supporter even if it’s as just a number or faceless name on a voting roll.
That’s it. Now, every decision should be made carefully, and I have done so on this one. For everything gained, you almost always have to give something up, and my attitude that I want to remain truly independent means that I also have to give up voting in the primaries. The exchange is acceptable to me. My personal stance to not be associated with either party is very important to me and outweighs the downside. Another downside is that I have to concede that others make my November choice(s) for me, but that is acceptable to me, as well.
Having said that, I did register as a Democrat for a short period in 2016. California had straight party primaries (they have changed their system to a non-partisan blanket primary since I left), but I now live in Iowa and I wanted to experience a caucus. I chose the Dems not because I supported Hillary or Bernie, I didn’t, but simply because I thought it’d be the most interesting of the two. I promptly returned to “No party” on my voter registration after the caucuses were done. (I may do it again in 2020. Haven’t decided yet. It was most certainly intellectually fascinating.)
If you believe either party gives one whit about you, you’re kidding yourself. By being a non-affiliated Centrist I am making my stand, however small it may be, to say to the parties that I am not swayed by them and their selfish agendas.