Wednesday, January 19, 2011

HB11: WTF

Yeah. I know. Who cares about fusion? It doesn't make sense. I don't know what it is. My party says it's bad. Let's fix that.

NO.

What is Fusion?
Fusion is the idea that more than one party can support the same candidate.

Will the Democratic Party ever support the Republican candidate? Doubt it.

Will the Republican Party ever support the Democratic candidate? Unlikely.

There's an entire industry built around fighting elections. If the two sides of the war declared peace, there'd be no money in selling guns anymore. Most average voters dream of an end to partisanship and the opportunity to have conversations with strangers where political discussions don't become fistfights.

That's why "Independent" or "Unaffiliated" is the fastest growing political affiliation in the country. I don't make these things up.

Why do Libertarians Care?
Among those not registered with the Democratic or Republican Party are those registered with the Libertarian Party. Traditionally, we've nominated our own candidates. From time to time, we nominate a Republican or a Democrat, but usually we put up our own guy.

I'm the Kent County Chair for the Libertarian Party now. I want to change that. This may come as a total surprise to you, but we lose elections. The best we did in a 3-way race was 6.1%. That was me. I could have done better, but I don't think a whole lot. We can't win. That's okay. We can still be important and still participate in the process.

We did spoil two elections.

In the Kent County Recorder of Deeds election and the 2nd Levy Court District election, the votes for the Libertarian candidate could have made the margin of victory for the Republican candidate. We really weren't trying. Our campaigns were leaning Republican, but we didn't have any specific issues to attack any of the opposing candidates on. Imagine if we had decided to fuse with the Democratic or Republican candidates. Majority.

We don't get off on being annoying. We don't get off on drawing attention to ourselves for the sake of drawing attention to ourselves. We want smaller government and more freedom and we really don't care how it happens.

If a Democratic or Republican candidate comes to us and lives up to the principles we espouse, why fight a losing campaign? Why shouldn't we be able to team up with the incumbent party candidates and offer our endorsement, support, and nomination? Do we HAVE to mess with the process? Why can't we contribute to it? We won't always pick Democrats. We won't always pick Republicans. We'll try to always pick the right candidate. Isn't that what every party is trying to do? Sometimes we may really think that none of the candidates are acceptable and nominate nobody. We do that all the time too.

So What's HB11?
HB11 has two sections. The first section prevents anyone who's not registered with a "major political party" to file in the primary elections for that party. It means that Democratic Party members and Republican Party members will be prohibited by Delaware State Law from voting for anyone not in their own political party during primary elections. I think that's a bad idea, but Democrats and Republicans are the ones passing HB11 and at some point, you all have to stand up for yourselves.

The real problem is with the second section. This section requires all political parties nominating candidates through a convention to choose their candidates from their own party also. Every "minor political party" chooses ALL of its candidates through convention. Sometimes we like people who aren't in our own party and we're not so set on promoting our own organizational interests over our principles that we won't work together with good people. Apparently we're whackos though, so don't take my word for it.

HB11 doesn't just tell primary voters who they can vote for, it tells entire political parties who they can and can't nominate for elected office. Everything else is a sideshow.

6 comments:

  1. Section 2 of this Bill is the most heinous. There is no reason why a minor party should not be allowed to select anyone they want to represent them in any election. Just like any job interview, a candidate would interview with the party to present why they are qualified to be nominated by the party. The party would then base their decision on the candidate’s merit, not what party they are registered with in a Dept. of Election database. Does someone working for the NAACP HAVE to be African American to work for the organization? No, that would be racist. Does someone advocating Lesbian rights HAVE to be female? No that would be sexist. But a Republican being selected to represent the Work Families Party of Delaware would be wrong because she’s NOT a registered member of that party? This just doesn’t make any sense. It’s obvious why this is happening. It’s just another way to ensure that the two party system is further entrenched (like it needs more help in that regard) and that people outside that system are not heard or offered to the people as an alternative to the status quo. Since this Bill serves the interest of the incumbent politicians the most and the people the least, I see this breezing through to the governor’s desk without a single NO vote. For Shame!

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  2. Disagree. The intention here is to prevent spurious third party nominations from circumventing what few campaign funding limits Citizens United has left us. I'd think smaller parties would be all OVER it, because without it you're just going to be used as free-floating PACs, and I can't see why THAT would be a dignified end to the work you do.

    Of course it also protects the major parties from being torpedoed during the primaries. We all know why THAT is an issue, I hope.

    I started being politically active in Libertarian campaigns. I've worked for many candidates from different parties, usually registered as an Independent and now I'm a registered Democrat. My point of view hasn't changed as much as the political landscape, mostly, and I parted ways with the Libertarian party over our differing definitions of 'public safety' on the platform. Still, I'd hate to see the party & ideology I worked for become some kind of Junior John Birch Society in the pay of the Koch brothers. It deserves better.

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  3. We can make campaign contributions to any candidates we want through the party's finance committees. This bill doesn't affect that at all.

    The intention here is to force political parties to nominate candidates exclusively from their own ranks and guarantee that parties will always fight. Maybe the Libertarian Party doesn't always want to fight. Can't we agree with the Democrats and Republicans sometimes that they've OCCASIONALLY managed to choose the right candidate?

    I think you can rest assured that the Libertarian Party is not in the pay of the Koch brothers. We'd actually have money if that were the case.

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  4. No, but this helps protect that. Look at Christine O'Donnell. She had no support among party activists, and all her money was from out of state. If you don't think the Libertarian (or any other) party of Delaware might be a tempting morsel for an ambitious & well funded out of town pol, you don't understand "hostile takeover'.

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  5. Protect what? How does this bill in any way change the mechanism for control of a state party? This bill doesn't touch internal party stuff or campaign finance stuff. It just tells parties that they can only nominate someone registered with their own party.

    Delaware law defines a political party as a group of ~600 people who identify under a common name when they register to vote, and get ballot access for it. This group of people has a right to choose whoever they want for that nomination.

    HB11 denies them that right. That is all that is happening here.

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  6. Should have included this. Does NOTHING to affect Chapter 80, dealing with campaign finances.

    http://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS146.NSF/vwLegislation/HB+11?Opendocument

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