February 18, 2010

Using Their Own Tools Against the Levers of Power

Justin Katz

Ed Achorn offers an excellent suggestion:

Maybe Republicans should exploit the master lever to throw a scare into the legislature.

They could point out that, under the utter domination of one party in the General Assembly, Rhode Island has lost tens of thousands of jobs, fueling an unemployment rate of about 13 percent, while that in nearby New Hampshire is only 7 percent; that the state has become a small copy of Michigan, with boarded-up neighborhoods and foreclosed homes; that unsustainably generous benefits for politically powerful public-employee unions threaten Rhode Island with financial catastrophe; that the state's business climate is the worst in America, according to Forbes magazine, even below Michigan’s (New Hampshire leads New England); that the Assembly-controlled state budget has exploded 47 percent since 2003, almost three times the rate of inflation and many times the rate of income growth of most Rhode Island families, while property taxes have skyrocketed.

They could argue that citizens could easily "send a message" against this record with one-stop shopping, and rock the State House to the core with a single mark on the ballot, choosing the opposition party. That would filter down to every legislative race. (No further thinking required.)

Actually, it would be an excellent idea were the Republicans able to promise candidates in key races. John Loughlin's current General Assembly seat looks likely to be available for a Democrat to stroll on in, just as Jay Edwards did upon Joe Amaral's retirement during the last election cycle in North Tiverton, There's also the complication of the Moderate Party and any independent candidates who might emerge.

But leave that all up to the other parties and candidates. An "anyone but" campaign might be just what the lazy, apathetic electorate needs.

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Heh, I would love that. But as was sort of mentioned, the state Republican party doesn't exactly have enough of its act together to pull off something that would take that much coordination.

The straight ticket lever is a horrible abomination to democracy and very likely, if not definitely tilted at least one race in the last election.

Posted by: Patrick at February 18, 2010 9:14 PM

Hey, worked in nearby MA. Does anyone think Scott Brown won because all those MA voters actually wanted a Republican in office? Most of them had clothespins on their noses.

Posted by: Dan at February 18, 2010 11:49 PM

Dan, are you claiming that Scott Brown won because people voted "straight ticket"?

Posted by: Patrick at February 19, 2010 6:43 AM

What "the lazy, apathetic electorate needs?" How lucky we all are to have such brilliant minds to tell us what to do! And you guys have the nerve to call the left elitist?

Posted by: Russ at February 19, 2010 8:48 AM

Patrick, I'm saying the opposite, that he was elected by all the independents and Democrats who voted R to send a message, because they hated Coakley, or because they didn't want another D in Massachusetts.

Posted by: Dan at February 19, 2010 8:52 AM

"How lucky we all are to have such brilliant minds to tell us what to do!"

Russ are you serious? First, even Achorn himself said that he would never pull the master lever, so there's a little bit about his "telling you what to do".

Second, how's the current system workin' out for ya? Well, I'm guessing it's working out just fine for you, since you seem to be so strongly in favor of it. But how's it been working out for RI? Or do you believe that RI is just fine, there really aren't many problems in RI, least of which with the people that we elect?

Posted by: Patrick at February 19, 2010 9:25 AM
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