The straw that broke the donkey’s back.

July 31, 2008

Another argument for dismantling the two-party system: This week, in Maine, that state’s supreme court overturned a lower court ruling “that said the state acted reasonably in keeping an independent on November’s U.S. Senate ballot. As a result [of the supreme court’s overturning of the lower court’s ruling], Independent Herbert Hoffman’s name will not appear on the ballot in the running with Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat Rep. Tom Allen.” You can read the rest of the story from which I’ve excerpted here.

Tom Allen (a Dem) must realize how tough it will be to beat out Susan Collins (the incumbent R), so all stops were pulled in an effort to grab as many votes as possible. The Dems felt threatened, apparently, by this independent upstart, so they shoved the Maine Supreme Court into their pockets, started jumping up and down about some technicality in how Hoffman collected his signatures or some such nonsense, and got this poor bastard kicked off the ballot.

Apparently, Hoffman intends to appeal the decision further, as well he should, if not in an effort to revive his (quite certainly) doomed campaign, but to stand up for the idea of democracy, and to represent the will of those 4,000 folks who signed the petition that put him on the ballot in the first place.

5 Responses to “The straw that broke the donkey’s back.”

  1. Mardé Says:

    How can I phrase a nice answer to this, one that understands and sympathizes with your point of view? Well, lets face it, Minds, there is no way, other than a mealy mouthed sycophancy, that I could use to make myself look good in your eyes with a thoughtful answer, so, you’ll just have to write me off as an unrepentant fascistic and undemocratic bastard!

    See, HA!, I’ve got a Tom Allen sticker on my car, along with an Obama sticker, and I’m glad that poor bastard Hoffman is off the ticket! I’m hoping against hope that Tom Allen can somehow beat Susan Collins, and now with Hoffman out of the way — we rubbed him out, HA! — maybe there is a chance! What I’m hoping for is Republican filibuster proof House and Senate so that some of the progressive programs Democrats want can actually become law in this country and the terrible income inequality that has gotten so much worse in the past eight years can begin to get turned around.

    Of course I could be wrong…… hohoho

  2. Mardé Says:

    What I meant to say in my final line was:

    Of course I could be wrong….. which is always true: the best laid plans and most convincing ideas often go awry, in other words, it’s never justified to be too sure of oneself, so, of course I could be wrong!

  3. mindserased Says:

    Marde – if Hoffman were a Libertarian, for example, or a Constitution Party candidate, then you wouldn’t be reacting as fiercely as you are, because, mostly likely, those types of candidates would support a Republican, if choosing between The Two Evils. Hoffman’s left-leaning politics threaten the Dems; hence, the backlash.

    I guess I just wonder at what point do we start living out our ideals, and vote our conscience? How do we change this obviously broken system? That oft-quoted remark of Margaret Mead comes to mind, about how small groups of citizens can change the world, etc etc. A lofty goal, yes, noble, but doable? I hope so!

    I bet a lot more people would, for example, vote for Nader – or Hoffman or WHOMEVER – if they TRULY wanted to support that PERSON, that CANDIDATE, rather than toss their vote helplessly in support of either PARTY that, in my opinion, will just churn out more of the same.

    My whole point, to belabor it, is that the system sucks, and I, and many others like me, contemplate dropping out of it altogether. Many already have. Where can I and other dissenters go with this energy, rather than blog anonymously about it??

  4. Mardé Says:

    Yes, Minds, you have me pegged right. Hoffman would take votes from Allen and not Collins whereas if he had been a libertarian I would have been happy to have him stay in, along with all the other evil democrats like me. We want Tom Allen to win so that the senate will/might have a filibuster proof democratic majority, so that maybe some good things might be accomplished in this country like universal health care, maybe even a reduction in the power of the military-industrial complex, although that will be harder to achieve because of the entrenched power of the republican neo-cons and the embedded corporations. Tom Allen is a progressive liberal who was against the Iraq war from the start, unlike Susan Collins, and unlike your buddy, Christopher Hitchins who has been at least as gung-ho about that war as Dick Cheney and still is. But I digress. Tom Allen will support universal health care unlike any republican, including Susan Collins, although Olympia might support it. I want some change in this country, and it won’t happen if Hoffman gets a few votes and simply elects Susan Collins. Bully for Hoffman! He’s more anti-war than even Tom Allen, but what will he do with his few thousand votes? While you are waiting for your ideal world and withdrawing from this corrupt and broken system of hypocritical and stupid people, as you put it, the world could REALLY go to hell in a hand basket and you and me and everyone else in America, if not the world, along with it. That’s why I vote for the “lesser of two evils”, why I vote for compromise in order to achieve something rather than nothing or less than nothing. For example, I would not be getting social security now, which I’m still paying into, and which helps me a lot, if the undemocratic democrats in the 1930’s had not dominated congress so that Roosevelt could get Social Security passed. Same with Medicare and LBJ. He had a filibuster-proof democratic majority too. We’re in a battle against entrenched power, that’s where the unfairness is, entrenched power. So, in this country we made a little progress toward the kind of society the Europeans have, thanks to the democrats, and perhaps, yes, a few stray republicans who may have supported them. Well, I’ve said too much, rattled on too much, that’s clear, and you can see I’m angry too, but I’d rather have a little imperfect progress than none at all, or even perhaps disaster.

  5. Mardé Says:

    Correction to my diatribe: I do not pay into Soc Sec but do pay taxes on my Soc Sec income.

    Margaret Meade was right. I agree with you on that. A small group can make a big difference, even against entrenched power. But I’m sure it takes time, is not easy, and how much time do we have?

    I don’t agree that our political parties are completely corrupt. They are a little corrupt, yes. The republican party is pretty much under the control of extremists and big business now. Olympia Snowe is an exceptional throwback to the “moderate” republican era. But she’s only one.

    The thing about your thinking, Minds, is that it tends to be absolutist. You want to get rid of the parties altogether. But every country has political parties. Many have election runoff systems which is superior to what we have, I agree.

    But in the end people are people which means they’re imperfect which means political parties and our government will always be imperfect and that’s why we have separation of powers (executive, legislative, judicial) in this country and every country that’s not run by dictators or demagogues. I know you know this, Minds.

    Finally, (will I never shut up?!) you can go somewhere with your energy. There’s a Ron Paul convention coming up and Jesse Ventura is attending. That’s getting to be quite a movement. Only thing is, Ron Paul is very right wing on domestic issues. But at least he’s for dismantling the military industrial complex which is a good thing.

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