NY23 Should Not Matter, But it Does
It should not matter to us in Arkansas what happens in New York’s 23rd congressional district special election. It should not matter because the way this country was set up the federal government was designed to fend off foreign threats, resolve disputes between the states, and pretty much leave everything else to the states so that local people could manage their own affairs.
Of course it does matter, because the type of personality drawn to a power center like Washington D.C. is the sort who desires to accumulate more and more power. That’s why they leave their families and homes to go to a power center. Two hundred years of such personality types flocking to Washington D.C. have brought us to this place, where the federal government wants to involve itself in every aspect of our lives right down to the number of gallons of water our toilet is allowed to hold.
So when something as odd as what happened in New York occurs, it unfortunately matters. This upstate New York district is full of conservative folks regardless of the rest of the state, much like around here. When their congressman left office, they needed a special election to replace him. The law there said that the county chairman of the political parties alone pick the replacements for their party, not a vote of the whole people. The Democrat insiders picked a big spending liberal who supported abortion and homosexual marriage, but so did the Republicans!
The national Republican Party at first went all out to support this pick, a woman named Dede Scozzafava. However New York has ballot laws that are friendlier to alternative parties than Arkansas does, and more people willing to consider them. A Republican named Doug Hoffman went to the tiny Conservative Party and asked to be their candidate. They agreed.
Many grassroots Republicans saw Hoffman as the person more in line with their values and Hoffman gained momentum. The National Republican party pushed back hard against the grassroots, sparing no expense to prop up Scozzafava. They even ran attack ads on Hoffman as it became clear he would get enough of the vote to threaten in this race. Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson and other national conservative leaders bucked the national Republican Party and endorsed Hoffman.
In a side note, Mike Huckabee was keynote speaker for the Conservative Party dinner in New York, he took their money and left without endorsing, or even mentioning, Hoffman. His unwillingness to buck the D.C. Republicans when he actually had the best venue to do so has not gone unnoticed by grassroots leaders around the nation.
Normally when a third party candidate starts to make progress against a liberal republican candidate the mantra is “you must vote for the liberal republican or else you will split the vote and elect the democrat.” And it is usually true, that is where our system is broken. That’s why we need a run-off system for all races, not just local races. In this race though, Hoffman surged so fast that he got more support than Scozzafava. In this race, the liberal Republican was the spoiler who would split votes and get the Democrat elected, not the alternative party candidate. The national Republicans threw in the towel and told Scozzafava that they were not going to spend any more money propping up her campaign. She quit the race and endorsed the Democrat. The vote is Tuesday