Posted under Politics
It’s easy to overread and overreact to odd-year elections (or by-elections as they would say in Canada or the UK). When Chuck Robb won Virginia’s governorship in 1981, did that mean the end of Reaganism? Hardly. Likewise a loss by the Democrats in Virginia next Tuesday or even a win in New Jersey really doesn’t say much about the Obama Administration either way, other than the Dems in Virginia and the GOP in New Jersey had lousy candidates.
But if a pattern forms in several different elections or if something unusual happens then you have a good chance to read the tea leaves. That something unusual cold very well be happening in a New York Congressional District.
Doug Hoffman ran for the GOP nod in the special election but the party establishment supported a Rockerfeller-type Republican in Dede Scozzafava and she won the primary. But Hoffman had the Conservative Party ballot line before then and continued on to the general election. Instead of being a non-major party also ran or just a mere spolier, Hoffman looks like he might actually win outright as he is virtually tied with the Democrat Bill Owens while Scozzafava’s support has virtually collapsed.
Something similar to this took place in 1970 when Bill Buckley’s brother James ran on the Conservative line and beat liberals James Goodell and Richard Ottinger, the two major party candidates. What’s unusual is then number of Republicans who endorsing Hoffman like Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Tim Pawlenty and so forth. This would have never happened before, at least not in the last 30 years. Republicans usually support Republicans period. It’s usually a prerequisite. In fact their party unity has been so tight it virtually modeled that of the Soviet Union.
However, such unity is breaking down. Defeat and disillusionment will do that to you. If one wants to see a practical effect of the Tea Parties this is it right here. No longer do conservatives feel honor bound to a GOP that has let them down time and time again. Now, having a Conservative Party available to use is something special to New York but could not other non major parties be used in similar fashion at least for primary campaigns or to spoil things in the general? Here’s an example from Nevada, a story that shows the sudden growth in the Independent America Party (IAP) which has come at GOP expense. This is how non-major parties can be affective.
The bottom line is for conservatives, the GOP is not their only alternatives. They’re not going to be pushed into supporting weak or less-than-fervent alternatives just to maintain “party unity”. They’re going to vote their interest for a change and perhaps infuse these non-major parties with energy and activism that either forces the GOP to acquiesce or will seriously affect its prospects altogether.
Our friend Jim Antle has a good article about this in the American Spectator. Keep your watch Tuesday night on Upstate New York.