Stateside With Rosalea - Battered voter syndrome

Published: Tue 29 Oct 2002 09:05 AM
Stateside With Rosalea - Battered voter syndrome
The Democrats really are too tragic. To hear them begging voters not to desert them for third party or independent candidates this election is like hearing an abusive partner in a relationship begging to be forgiven for past misdemeanours - just so they can perpetuate their disrespect and manipulation as the relationship continues.
Sorry guys and guyesses, but if people aren't voting for you it's because you've let them down and they're mad as hell and ain't going to take it any more. And if standing up for themselves means that things will be temporarily much worse - Republicans from sea to missile-bristling sea - then voters are willing to pay that price.
It's like a dark chrysalis has been forming in the days since September 11, 2001, and on November 5 it will hatch. Do people want to see a drab grey behemoth emerge yet again, with D on one wing and R on the other? No - they want a multicoloured butterfly, cos butterflies are free.
Scott Wilson for President (in 2012), I say! He's the Libertarian candidate for Congressional district 7, in the North Bay, and in last weekend's free airtime on the local Fox affiliate he came across as the down-to-earth sort of bloke this country needs in politics if it's ever to get people engaged in the political process again. "Why were 17,000 potheads arrested and 19 terrorists weren't?" he asked.
Not all the candidates in the congressional and gubernatorial races took advantage of the five minutes of time they were offered. Although I didn't see all the broadcasts, it seemed that the incumbents were least likely to appear. In the case of the Governor's race, neither Gray Davis (D) nor Bill Simon (R) did, and nor did the woman from the Natural Law Party or the so-called "spitting Druid" whom the Libertarians have disowned.
Reinhold Gulke, gubernatorial candidate for the American Independent Party, which includes the Reform party, is a former Republican and he was forthright in his admonishment of the two-party system: "Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils, why don't you join me and just poke 'em in the eye."
It was the first time I'd seen the Green Party's Peter Camejo speak, and he came across full of nervous energy, speaking spontaneously in sentences that sometimes started on one train of thought and ended on another. He seemed to be trying to touch on every policy platform in the five minutes, but he saved his most important message for the end. Realistic about his chances of actually becoming Governor, he simply said: "Vote Green." This Saturday he was on 'Latin Eyes', a magazine-style TV programme about the Latino/a community, and by virtue of the question and answer style of the item Camejo seemed much more focused.
Not that some of the third party and independent candidates here in the States aren't somewhat whacko by the standards of countries that actually take minority parties seriously. Back in June this year a columnist in 'The Nation', Alexander Cockburn, wrote a piece about Minnesota's Paul Wellstone, a Democrat who was making a bid for a third term in the Senate (despite promising he would stay for only two terms), and in it he mentioned the Green candidate, Ed McGaa, whose popularity was being seen as a threat to Wellstone's re-election.
Lo and behold, by September - when the Green's had a primary to decide who would be the senate challenger - there was such dissension in the Green camp about McGaa's frequent references to his military service record that another man's name is on the ballot paper - Ray Tricomo. According to a poll on October 20, the support for Greens PLUS others now barely reaches the one percent mark. At 4 percent in the polls (with 7 percent undecided), the Independence candidate was holding more of the balance of power in a 47 to 41 percent race between Wellstone and Republican Norm Coleman.
But, of course, you know all about this race now that Wellstone made what Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura called the "ultimate sacrifice for this great democracy". He died in a plane crash on the very last day that would enable the Democrats, under Minnesota law, to put another person's name on the ballot paper. if they choose not to do that then the Governor can appoint someone to the Senate. Ventura is a former WWF wrestler who is the feather boa-wearing poster child for third party candidates getting into political power - not once but twice. He too promised he wouldn't seek another term in his political position, and kept that promise. He also said after Wellstone's death, that he wouldn't appoint himself to the Senate.
For some background and perspectives about the Minnesota race here are four links:
Cockburn's June article (he doesn't let 'The Nation' put them on its website):
Minnesota Public Radio's September background to a debate between Greens McGaa and Tricomo:
The Minnesota Star-Tribune's poll results on October 20:
Minnesota Governor Jess Ventura's presser about Wellstone's death is under "Audio Reaction" on this page:

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