Saturday, August 7, 2010

Purpose of candidate statement of purpose

Mr. Gillette raises some interesting points about the "NOT the 'whiteman's bitch'" case.

Why are independents allowed to include a "statement of purpose" but not Republicans or Democrats?  I think this makes sense.  Everyone knows what a Republican is, and everyone knows what a Democrat is--by running under the banner of one of these parties, a candidate is effectively adopting a well-known statement of purpose.  But when someone is running as neither a Republican or Democrat, a voter is likely to ask, "what's this all about?"  So I think it makes sense to give the independent candidate an opportunity to describe, succinctly, what she's all about.  The alternative, I think, would be to eliminate any party identifications from the ballots altogether.  I think this is why you are unlikely to see a First Amendment challenge by the major parties:  this is kind of a gift to the independent candidates, to prevent them from complaining too much about the big advantage that Ds and Rs get merely by getting to put the D or R next to their name on the ballot.  [Contrast this to judicial elections, in Minnesota at least, where one of the candidate gets to put "incumbent" next to his or her name, and other candidates get only their name on the ballot.]

I think we could have a lot of fun trying to come up with 5-word "statements of purpose" to describe the Republican and Democratic parties.  I'll start, for the Republicans:  "PROUD to be a whiteman."

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