Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo reports that Wisconsin Democrats are now pondering whether they should plant fake Republican candidates in Republican primaries, since the GOP has declared that it intends to plant fake candidates in the Democratic primaries, which could delay the general elections from July to August, and complicate the Democratic primaries while the GOP incumbents run unopposed.
The Democrats are being egged on by a labor-backed progressive group called We Are Wisconsin, which has stated:
Another potential scenario created by the Republican chicanery in the primary that could severely disadvantage Democratic candidates is that Republican incumbents who do not face primary challengers advance automatically to the general election ballot. This creates a scenario where “legitimate” Democratic challengers are exposed to unlimited spending by outside groups and pro-Republican forces, which could cause the “legitimate” Democrats in the race to lose the sham primary. There would be no check on millions of dollars in shady outside money coming in to relentlessly attack “legitimate” Democrats, and full-scale mobilization of Republican resources to turn out their voters in the Democratic primary and to advocate a message such as “if you support Randy Hopper, vote for fake candidate X.”
I think I understand the thinking, if not the writing. The theory is that if the Democrats run fake Republicans to prevent unopposed candidates in the Republican primaries, it will force GOP voters to worry only about their own primary and foil the attempt to mess with the Democrats.
Hey…I have an idea!
Why don’t we just give up, and ask the British to take us back?
Because this isn’t democracy, and parties that try to confuse voters and foil the will of the majority by tricks, cheating and double-dealing are disgracing the values and the principles our government is supposed to embody. Yet this seems to be becoming politics-as-usual. During the 2008 election, for example, the Democratic Party used various tactics, some less than savory, to block Ralph Nader from state ballots, fearing a repeat of the 2000 debacle. The practice of planting disruptive “supporters” at candidate rallies hoping to provoke a YouTube-worthy gaffe, once derided as “dirty tricks” when used by Nixon Republicans, is a standard weapon in both parties’ arsenal. America’s sacred right of self-determination is being cynically warped by tricks lies and masquerades, and when one party dives into the mud, the response of the other is increasingly likely to be, “Why didn’t we think of that?”
I don’t have a solution for the spread of this kind of cheating, if both parties want to win this way and their supporters are willing to let them. And I’m sure they are: I’ve been reading defenders of Anthony Weiner proudly proclaim that they would vote for lying Democrats over honest Republicans, just as the supporters of assorted Republican liars—Senator Paul Kirk comes to mind—clearly feel the same way. If party members think it makes sense to elect liars, it isn’t a huge step for them to think it’s defensible to cheat to elect those liars, especially if the liars’ opponents will be cheating too.
This is another one of those stories, and there have been too many of them recently, that shows how quickly all the canaries are dying in the American mine of cultural decency and ethics, which is slowly being poisoned by greed, apathy, stupidity and cynicism. By all means, Wisconsin, see which party can confuse voters more with their fake candidates. That’s what our soldiers have died for; that’s what Tom and John and Ben and George risked everything for; that’s the kind of thinking that has made America great.
Sure it is.
[Thanks, sort of, to Rick Jones for bring this to my attention.]