The King's Marquee

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ballot Hogs

There is solution for dealing with
political cheaters
This is one of those commentaries where it would be very easy for The King to go personal and get some folks very upset by mentioning the guilty by name. But in order to not distract from my point on principle I'm going to do a rare thing here and not drag any specific individual candidate through the mud to invoke a defensive overreaction, or claim that I'm just  going out of my way to pick on someone (for the sake of a personal agenda); readers can compare notes, and draw their own conclusions about who the guilty parties are at some point in the future.

Lately, we've read a lot about Connecticut Republican candidates scrambling to collect signatures for the purposes of: 1) qualifying to appear on the August Primary ballot as a Republican Candidate, or 2) making a run as a third party candidate should they fail to win their respective Primary, or lastly 3) for the sole purpose of having their name appear more than once on the voting ballot - as both a Republican Candidate, and as a third party candidate.  Out of the box, let me say that The King believes that anyone within our ranks who collects signatures for the sole purpose of running under any Party other than Republican is a traitor to our Party and should be discounted from the start.  If you leave our ranks and go off and challenge the endorsed Republican from a third party platform (as some have done in the past) then consider the door closed behind you, and locked.  We wish you good luck in your new life. 

And I know a few people have their own story about how they've been screwed by the system at the local level. Yep, I've heard you and I get it. There are a lot of places where people are feeling high and mighty about themselves, and manipulate the votes to favor a less qualified candidate  -- and the results are always the same - the usual second place finish. But I'm still not in favor of a third party run as a revenge tactic to punish the majority because at the end of the day it never works, and it creates hard feelings among the ranks that can take as long as decade to heal. And as Republicans bicker and remain divided, Democrats become entrenched.  We have a hard enough time in Connecticut - so PLEASE, just skip it, and get over yourself.  I'm not saying you have to vote or support the winner (that is a topic that I will delve into at a later date).

Before I dive into the main point, I want to be very clear that I admire the tenacity of those Republicans who collect signatures to fight to appear on the Primary ballot.  Our nominating process to qualify to appear on the ballot is clearly anything but democratic.  In short, when you can legally pay and bribe delegates for votes at a State Convention, and the fact that the decisions about who is permitted to attend and participate in the nominating process are generally decided by a closed group of local insiders who are in cahoots with a candidate or set of candidates from the start, then for some the only thing left for them to do is to abort the formal Party process, and collect signatures to appear on the ballot. 

As for the Convention percentage rule - its designed to make those candidates who engage in the buying of delegates (and votes) lives much easier while at the same time discouraging losers from advancing their campaigns forward.  The King believes that the percentage rule is largely unnecessary because at the end of the day - few candidates, other than a few self-funded millionaires, would be able to raise enough capital to make a go of it anyway, and will eventually be dismissed by the voters as long-shot opportunists, or would remain an unknown to most outside a small pool of political hobbyists, and political insiders.  And most millionaires, save a few who are out of their minds, won't part with a dollar for such a pointless endeavor. Note that I did write most.  There are a few who will spend more than a few million for a massive ego boast.  Ahem.

Now there are times when - a candidate whom I don't support gathers enough signatures to appear on the ballot.   But I accept that this is the way the system must work to remain open to anyone willing to bust their tails and do the hard work.  If it were up to The King, we'd skip the Convention Process all-together and go with a direct primary process and cut the power-players off at the knees.  But since those who profit the most from Convention antics would be the ones to vote to decide its fate, its unlikely that those money-grubbing electioneers would ever vote to remove it regardless of how sense it makes to eliminate it.  If you haven't learned anything from the last two Conventions, you should have at least figured out that most of those pulling the strings are really out to make a buck, and "winning" the general election is a secondary goal - that's if it's one at all.

Trading Principle for Ballot Manipulation

There are times when you have to be bigger than your enemies on principle and not emulate them by act or deed to score cheap political points.  Over the years, Democrats, have created sub-parties such as the notorious Working Families Party, for one.   The WFP is a charade of sorts, organized by those on the far-left to make it appear as though they are an independent party with an agenda separate from that of the Democrat Party.  Well, sure the Working Families Party is likely more extreme - it takes a group of die-hard political activists to go through the motions to set up a fake political party in the first place to make it appear as though it's an earnest opposition party to its Democrat parent party; pretending to represent the special interests of "working families" and all that other nonsense, etc.  But when it comes to running candidates, rarely does the WFP ever oppose the Democrat running, and as a matter of fact, 99% of the time they pretend to mount pressure to "vet the Democrat" for his or her liberal views during the early goings, all the while planning to endorse them a month or two down the line so they can claim to be cross-endorsed, and appear on the ballot more than once. 

At first glance you would think that such a ploy to put someone on the ballot twice (or three times) would be seen as shady by most people.  But you may think that only because as an everyday Republican you're likely a rational thinker who's out of touch with the psychology of the modern day voter who apparently sees things much differently than you do.  One could argue quite successfully that the reason Governor Dannel Malloy won Connecticut was due in part because his name showed up more than once on the ballot, thus giving those dissatisfied with the option of voting Democrat, the opportunity to vote for him under and independent line.  Yes, again, to most of us - that seems rather absurd.  But if you don't think its effective, then you are way to rational and ignoring the fact that such a strategy actually works.  Fact is, Democrats wouldn't pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into such a scheme if it weren't an effective strategy and a path for victory.

Unfortunately, instead of pointing out the irony of such scandalous behavior, our side is now looking to imitate the opposition by trying to form third parties and gather signatures to run on more than one Party line.  If it were up to me (and its not) someone would seek to limit every individuals appearance on the ballot to only one slot.  Democrats will claim that it's undemocratic to strong arm people into participating in a level playing field, but I'd argue its about fair play, and in the best interest of stopping the disgusting escalation of strategic shenanigans which gives our entire political system a bad name.  The only reason you would want your name to appear more than once would be to give yourself an unfair advantage over your rival.  So let's cut out the B.S.!  These second hand endorsements aren't real endorsements, any more than parties like the Working Family Party are real parties, and everybody knows it. 

From a Republican standpoint, this strategy might help one or two candidates appear to be cross-endorsed from a perception-only standpoint, but the truth is that it hurts the overall Republican brand because instead of expanding our ranks, and selling the GOP as a single, viable party, it makes it look like our candidates have such little faith the GOP that they are willing to hedge their bets by running under another platform.  It's not just smoke and mirrors, the under-ticket could stand to suffer greatly from Republican federal candidates running under a separate banner.  I'm sure its a great ego boost for some, but its also a stab in the back for others who could stand to lose a close election because the public could cast a protest vote against Republicans by voting for a candidate on another line. 

If Republican Candidates want to stand on principle, they won't run as independents, or under any other third party line.  If you want to send a real message this year - vote against ANY candidate who appears more than once on the ballot in either August or November.  And if all the candidates in the election appear more than once, then  punish them all and write-in Mickey Mouse - because a fictional cartoon character is more worthy of your vote than anyone trying to hijack the system for their own selfish interests.



This original blog entry can be found at

Disclaimer: This entry and others will be modified/updated at a future date. All entries are for the sole purpose of entertainment. This article does not imply endorsement of the candidate mentioned above, nor has this article been solicited for publication by any political candidate, campaign, or PAC


The King said...

I was amazed this afternoon that this topic came up at all during today's Republican Senatorial debate. I was further surprised to see Linda McMahon claim to use Chris Murphy's cross endorsement by the Working Families Party as a suitable excuse to immitate his strategy and seek third party endorsement.

In Linda's world - if the bad guys break the rules, then she believes its ok for her to sink to their level and break the rules. It's a sad commentary about her unwillingness to rise above the fray and be a leader, or act on principle. It's also a commentary on how quickly she would abandon the Republican Party for cheap political points.

There are those in our Party who for years who have argued that Linda McMahon is no Republican. And when faced with the real prospect of proving that she is a true Republican to voters, she balks. She gives money to our Democratic opponents and parties, and runs against Republicans on a separate ticket. How much more of this nonsense are we going to take?

Thumbs up to Chris Shays for going in on one line, win or lose and abiding by principle, and not pure politics.

Jack Off said...

The Republican Party will continue to lose registered voters because of candidates like linda McMahon. We will fall under 400k voters after this cycle and most likely lose major party status by 2016. Thanks Tom Foley for endorsing Linda you complete Jackass.

Anonymous said...

I suppose some whack can't attempt to grab 1-2% of the vote from you so locking up with spot isn't such a bad idea overall. It's bad for Republicans I have to agree. Linda should list her (I) line as Linda's Gravy Boat Party.

Dan Reale said...

King -

I really respect what you've done for teh GOP and think it's been an admirable, noble effort...

BUT the time comes where we can only say "Republican only" for so many dozens of cycles in a row and make the argument that "I'd have won if only I didn't have an opponent". It just so happens that you're only going to get what you're looking for from a third party.

That said, I doubt Linda will succeed getting the Independent nomination - and if she achieved that goal, it would only turn the Independent Party into a wing of the GOP for no productive reason.