Monday, April 16, 2012

Primary Update

In 30 comments to last week's post on "fake" candidates, no offered any refutation of the points that I made and I have yet to read one any where else. No one has been able to dispute that the use of recalls is an attempt to accelerate the election cycle and put a variety of partisan offies on the ballot. No one can deny that, when we normally have multiple partisan elections, primary and general elections are held on different days. It is indisputable that holding a down ballot general election on the same day as a primary for only one party at the top of the ballot will give one party an advantage that it would not normally enjoy. There is no question that running canddates in the Democratic Senate primary is an attempt by the Republicans to level the playing field.

No one has been able to offer an argument that this is illegal. Sec. 8.20(2)(a) provides that a declaration of candidacy include a statement that the filer wishes to be "placed on the ballot at the (general or special) election to be held on (date of election) as a candidate [(representing the (name of party)) ...."

In other words, the candidate declares his or her intent to be placed on the ballot in a party's primary.

There is nothing in this statement that requires a candidate to affirm that he or she is a member of the party or believes in any of the various positions that the party (or most people in the party) hold. The law has never been used to enforce an ideological litmus or loyalty test on candidates and never could be.

No one has been able to point to anything that is intrinsically wrong with this attempt to level the playing field. It might be a different case if the candidates in question were misrepresenting their actual positions and running hard to take votes away from Democrats.But that's not the case.

One commenter did say that it's a waste of money and there is, to be sure, a small cost involved. An additional office has to be added to some primary ballots and someone has to count the votes. But, given the distortion that would accompany holding a down ballot general on the same day as a top of the ballot primary in only one party, it's not a waste of money.


George Mitchell said...

Perhaps those "outraged" about fake candidates will be disappointed that the potential/likelihood of fake voting on June 5 increased with today's WSC decision.

Perhaps not.

John Foust said...

If the Republicans wanted to force a primary, why didn't they simply run more Republicans?

Anonymous said...

A classic case of confirmation bias, Professor, with your post.

Yes, perhaps LEGALLY you may be onto something with the grey area regarding the statute requiring "nothing more than an affirmation of candidacy".
Yet at issue is the statement "political party affiliation or principal supported by you". Under oath, a person will declare their political affiliation.

So assume if he/she has voted their entire life for the Republican or Democratic Party, has written numerous articles favoring or opposing an agenda, actively worked on political campaigns exclusively for one political party, we are suppose to take his/her word they are serious about running for an office they ultimately have no desire in serving?

What type of person is willing to run for a political office that is the anthesis of their philosophical underpinnings to employ "political gamesmanship" and ensure a "tactical advantage"?

Seriously, Republicans running as Democrats to force a primary when they could do the same by legally running as Republicans on the same day—ETHICAL? I think that is the issue that rubs a number of people the wrong way.

Certainly, the legislature would have to clarify the issue before us. But the Assembly and Senate, with a Republican majority for over the last year, could have addressed the matter and changed the laws and rules governing recall elections. That would have brought recalls in line with a general election. But they CHOSE not to—it is not like the GOP failed to know what was coming down the pike.

Also, f the GOP goal was to simply force a primary in order to make sure all the elections fall on the same date, then why did they not run someone else to take the appropriate "dive" in the Republican Primary? Would being the "sacrificial lamb" not have accomplished the same result to ensure to "level the playing field"?

George Mitchell--Perhaps not, indeed. Be my guest with your pipe dream that widespread election fraud exists and necessitates Voter ID.

George Mitchell said...

from wispolitics today:

GAB rejects challenges to 'fake' or 'protest' Dem recall candidates

The Government Accountability Board has unanimously rejected a challenge to the Republican-backed candidates who have filed to run in next month's Democratic recall primaries.

The challenge was filed by Dem attorney Jeremy Levinson, who argued the candidates committed fraud in filing registration statements, declarations of candidacy and nomination papers claiming to be Dems.

The GAB actions mean those candidates will appear on the primary ballot in the races for guv, lt. guv and four Senate districts.

Ahead of today's meeting, GAB staff recommended the board reject the challenges, saying no statute bans individuals from running for office "for any political or strategic reason" or from running without the support of the relevant political party.

Anonymous said...

Yes, George, we can read. That is why I prefaced my comments as "perhaps legally". But, the question I and Foust posed still remains unanswered.

I will invoke the mantra used by some on the right..."Well, it may be legal, but just because the law says you can do it does not mean it is ethical or justified".

John Foust said...

Obviously, forcing a primary to align election dates wasn't the main reason the Republicans did this. They could've run more Republicans to create the same result. They had other reasons. Of course, the Professor does not speculate about this. He huffs and puffs about other stuff, but he doesn't mention the real reasons the WisGOP might've done this.

For example, perhaps they wanted to encourage Republicans to vote for the fake Democrats in order to attempt to eliminate the real Democrats. The chance of success for this is slim, of course. (I predict MacIver, Media Trackers, or Wisconsin Reporter will write a "isn't that interesting" story about this.) Perhaps they thought it would be clever to and charming to force more Democratic spending and effort. These sorts of reasons don't resonate with the public, do they?

My previous comment stands with many unanswered questions.

Anonymous said...

You simply don't understand the problem many of us have with this Rick.

Yes, some of the other democratic party hacks here are complaining because that is their pavlovian response to anything the GOP does. It's the same response obviously ingrained in your psyche only in reverse.

For those of us who are not partisan hacks, and I want you to think outside the box a bit here and imagine what it must be like to not care for ideology or either party, it's much different.

We have a political party, and it doesn't matter which one it is (because they are the same, really), that is running. fake. candidates. for. partisan. reasons. It is telling people, it's ok to put someone up for election under a party banner in which they do not believe.

That's silly. It's stupid. It just continues to add to the image of our politics as nothing but a circus, a freakshow that would attract only the most vain, or arrogant, or psychotic people to run for office for the same reasons they'd go on some idiotic reality show. It's adults, who want power over us, saying "hey! let's play a trick! Let's screw with the others! Just to be dicks!"

Isn't that slightly embarrassing, Rick? Don't respond that the Recall is embarrassing, that's a cop out. Actually respond to the issue at hand.


Anonymous said...

Well, now we have 2 posts where no one offered any refutation of the professor's points.

John Foust said...

Well, Anony, what can you do? Normally there are quite a few people refuting his points - but that doesn't stop him, does it?

Anonymous said...

Haven't checked back in here for a while, haven't bothered to do so or post, because it's just boring to see such appalling behavior flogged by a "professor" of law. Really, it's shameful to keep humiliating an ol' lady like Gladys Huber. She either has lost her wits and thinks that she's a Democrat, after all of these years of donating to Republicans and being active in her county Republican party -- or Republicans have convinced her, even after her humiliation last year as a fake candidate, that having this be the lede in her obituary will make her family proud of this as her legacy.

So I'll post a serious reply if Rick and his sidekick George vow on their virtual Bibles that they would vote for ol' Gladys Huber as the Dem candidate for governor -- against Walker.

I'll check back again in a while to see if there's a reply from Rick or George, or if there's anything interesting to read here that I couldn't hear on talk radio with more entertaining delivery.

Cedric Heiman said...

It took me a couple of hours before I came across your site.Well, this post would be of great help to anyone who would come to read this one. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. herbal incense