Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Republican "spoiler" candidates spoil democracy

GOP encourages fake candidates to run against Democratic recall challengers

Republican senators facing recall elections have come up with a cunning plan: force their Democratic challengers into primary elections in order to delay their inevitable dismissal. In doing so, Democrats will have to raise more money in order to win the primary election within their respective districts (and possibly fend off discrediting remarks that their pseudo-Democratic opponents will bring about).

Wisconsin's Republican leaders (including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald) are justifying the use of fake elections as necessary to give GOP Senators the chance to campaign fairly. Says GOP executive director Stephan Thompson:
'The Republican Party of Wisconsin has advocated that protest candidates run in Democratic primaries to ensure that Republican legislators have ample time to communicate with voters throughout their districts after the state budget is approved,' Thompson said in his statement.
In considering Thompson's assertions, a valid question comes about: did the Democrats do a similar thing in running off to Illinois in order to prevent passage of the collective bargaining bill? Certainly the Wisconsin 14 tried to bring the subject to the forefront by prolonging the length of time required to pass the bill. Are the Republican senators doing the same thing now?

Let's think about this for a bit. In fleeing the state, the Democrats were trying to prevent passage of a bill that most of the state had opposed. What they did wasn't even illegal, though it was frowned upon. But their intentions were to preserve the rights of workers, rights that a majority of the state supported keeping intact.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to use underhanded tactics to help them win an electoral campaign. They're encouraging people to challenge their opponents in primary elections they have no business meddling in -- these pseudo-candidates support conservative policies and the Republican candidates for office. What point is there in having them run in Democratic primaries then? The answer is that they're simply there to make things more difficult for the recall process.

Whether you support the Wisconsin 14 that went to Illinois or not is up to you -- regardless of your feelings on it, however, they were attempting to adhere to their constituents' wishes and in fact the wishes of the entire state. What the Republicans are doing here, however, isn't similar in that goal, doesn't come close to adhering to constituents' wishes. The Republicans are attempting to preserve their seats through these disgraceful means simply to keep themselves in power. By extending and interfering with the electoral process, the state GOP is acting in a way that not only is disrespectful of their constituents but also further justifies exactly why these recall elections are necessary.

It's not illegal, of course, which means it's OK for them to encourage "spoiler" candidates. But what the Republicans in this state are advocating is simply disgusting, for both Wisconsin and the ideals of democracy. There is no shame left within the Republican Party -- as long as they remain in power, we're left in the hands of vile and despicable leaders.

1 comment:

  1. However, WI law on recalls says that in a primary recall election if any candidate gets over 50% the race ends there and does not proceed to another election. So if the bad PR backlash is intense and the Dems do a good education/advertising job instructing voters on the phony candidates (who will not be running any commercials themselves) this may have no effect at all.