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The Perils of the One-Party Town

So, Your Humble Blogger lives in a one-Party town. It’s my Party, so that’s not so terribly bad, although I do think it is bad for our officials not to have serious opposition. Not as bad as the other Party winning elections, but still.

The State of Connecticut also thinks it’s bad to have one-Party towns, so we passed legislation that says, if I understand it correctly, that elected town governments (council, selectmen, whatever) can be no more than two-thirds made up of members of one party. This leads to odd elections, which YHB has written about before.

I was complaining in that year about the crazy Republican who got himself onto the council with 31% of the vote. He served, in his way, for one term, and then got voted out of office: this time it was him that got edged by 200 votes or so by the third R. Actually, his percentage of votes went substantially up from 34% to 39%, but all the Republicans did better last year in percentage terms as well as in actual votes. Not enough to, you know, compete with my Party, but better. This year the top R vote-getter came within a thousand votes of the bottom D.

Anyway. The point is that this fellow, who we will call Joe, ran for Town Council, won a seat with 34% of the vote, and then ran as an incumbent and lost, with less than 40% of the vote. Oh, there was one thing he did in between—he was his party’s nominee for U.S. Representative. He got trounced, of course, ending up with all of 26% of the vote.

I bring this up now, because it seems that he is going to be his Party’s nominee again. Which would not be at all interesting, except that this clown has another kind of Party involvement. The guys with the hats with three corners. You know. Tea.

Now, probably what will happen is the same thing that happened before: nothing. But it strikes me that he is a prime candidate for one of the Tea Party PACs to use as a patsy. Here’s a prominent Democrat, caucus chairman in fact, very liberal. Quick, send out a national fund-raising letter. Raise a million dollars for the patsy’s campaign. Spend that million on direct mail, of course using the direct mail company that is owned by the directors of the PAC. It’s a million dollars in their pockets, and all they have to do is give the poor clown a volunteer campaign manager of their choice. In fact, he’d probably be thrilled at the result: national attention, big fund-raising, he would look in some ways like a real candidate, with the light behind him anyway. And what with things being bad for incumbents this year, who knows? He might get 35% of the vote.

So, what YHB is wondering is this: should we here in his town do something about this? I mean, I hate to see it happen, I do; I hate to see it happen anywhere (and it is going to happen a lot this year, I tell you what) but I really hate to see it happen here. It’s fraud, essentially. The local clown is the equivalent of Florida real estate—he turns out to be a swamp, and all the locals know he’s a swamp, but they aren’t going to try to sell him to the locals. They are going to try to sell him to the rubes. And I don’t want the rubes buying this swamp. Not that I care all that much, I suppose, whether the money is in the rubes’ pockets or in the pockets of the direct mail barons—no, I do care, because the direct mail barons are going to use that money to fleece more rubes, and in doing that they are doing a lot of damage to our country’s political culture. But I’m not motivated, honestly, by a desire to do dirt to the direct mail barons, who after all have forty or fifty more choices for patsies this cycle. Really? It’s just that I don’t want it to happen here, in my back yard.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,