Lesson in elections, TEA party I'm looking at you!

From CNN

“Democrat Kathy Hochul swept to victory Tuesday night in a closely watched Congressional election in New York state, which turned into a proxy battle on a House Republican proposal on Medicare. […]  Democrats claimed the victory “had far reaching consequences around the country” over Medicare, […]  Hochul and Corwin attacked each other over it, with both campaigns, parties and outside groups flooding the airwaves with television commercials. Many of the ads spotlighted the political battle over House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to drastically cut federal spending by reforming Medicare.”

In a Congressional race for a seat vacated by former Representative Chris Lee (R) amid controversies over Craigslist shenanigans, Kathy Hochul won an election what has consistently been a Republican gimme district.  Since 1857 the seat has been occupied by only 3 other Democrats.

According to CNN, “Hochul has 48% of the vote, Republican Jane Corwin 42 %, self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate Jack Davis 9 %, and Green Party candidate Ian Murphy 1 %.”  Conservatives are their own worst enemies.  With TEA party candidate Jack Davis siphoning off nearly 10% of the conservative/republican vote, Hochul was able squeak into victory.

This is the problem with 3rd party candidates.  Democrats love 3rd party candidates, I think Ross Perot still gets a Christmas card from the Clintons every year.  The 3rd party candidate tends to be conservative, which lures conservative voters to “vote their conscience”.  I think it is noble to vote your conscience.  I also think it is unfortunate that many elections force the electorate to choose between the lessor of two evils.  Or instead of voting for someone, they feel like they have to vote against the other.  I get that, and I can sympathize.  I remember having to hold my nose and check the box for John McCain.

Sometimes you have to hold your breath and vote against someone.  Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and stay out of the race.  Had Jack Davis been looking ahead at the big picture and withheld from running, he may have kept a Republican in the seat.  I realize the TEA Party movement is gaining ground, and that may have contributed to his confidence.  But the big picture demands that he have the right people in the seats to get the job done.

Voting your conscience is best served in the primaries.  The Buckley rule is still the best political strategy: nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.  As a result of the (unintentional) 3rd party sabotage, liberals and Democrats are interpreting this victory wrongly.  This win was not about Rep. Paul Ryan’s attempt at preventing American insolvency.  Had this been a two-party election, the seat would still be Republican.


  1. Are you familiar with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)? I think it would be a wonderful thing to implement and could avoid this sort of situation.

    What it does is let you place numbers on your votes, so if there is a Dem, a Rep, a Green and a TP candidate on the ballot, and you’re very progressive, you can place a “1” next to the Green party candidate and a “2” next to the Dem. (or, “1” for the TP candidate and “2” for the Rep). That way, you can still vote your conscience AND still get a “safe” vote. Here’s how wikipedia explains it…

    If after this initial count no candidate has a majority of votes cast, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and votes for that candidate are redistributed according to the voters’ second preferences. This process continues until one candidate receives more than half of all votes cast, at which point that candidate is declared the winner.

    So, if the Dems get 45% of the #1 vote, the GOP gets 43%, the TP gets 10% and the GP gets 2%, then the GP votes would be discarded and those voters’ SECOND place vote gets counted (presumably mostly Dem, in my example), making the Dem candidate have 47%, GOP 43%, TP 10% – still no candidates above 50%. So, then, the TP candidate gets dropped and those voters’ second vote gets counted (presumably mostly GOP) and, in that situation, the GOP candidate would then have 53% of the vote and would be the winner.

    Seems like a better solution to me, one that would encourage more participation, more honest votes, more excitement. People HATE the idea of voting “for the lesser of two evils.” This approach would allow them to vote their conscience without running the risk of “spoiling” an election.

    • John Barron says:

      I don’t know that I’d be opposed to a system like that. But, I am always hesitant to change the electoral system. For instance, my state just went from machines with switches, to papers you have to color in a circle.

      Right away I felt uneasy. And what do you know, My current Governor, Dan Malloy was trailing in the election by about 8,000 votes, and what do you know, a bag of 13,000 uncounted ballots showed up in a deep blue democrat city. Just sayin’

      I just know there are too many people who activly work to make the system with as many possible exploitable pieces, like the above change. Dems who oppose requiring ID to vote, is another example.

  2. It’s likely this seat will go red again in 2012 if there is no 3rd party candidate. Does that mean the GOP can claim this as some sort of national indicator that country is getting more conservative? The media keeps digging into the ‘meaning’ of the win when there’s nothing there.

    You’re absolutely right about primaries. I vote my conscience in the primary and even though a less conservative usually gets the nomination, he is still the most conservative candidate in the race. Voting third party is like voting democrat in this case.

    • Exactly. Unfortunately a vote for Davis was essentially a vote for Hochul. When I hear so many conservative Christians who said they wouldnt vote for McCain because he supports abortion, (I dont know if he does or not) so they didnt vote at all. So their no-vote was a vote for Obama the most pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage, pro-every un-Christian policy candidate that has ever run.

      It boggles my mind the way some people view politics.

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