On Tuesday, the Republican Party came roaring back. Even the most delusional Republican stalwart could not imagine winning at least eight U.S. Senate seats and increasing the number of House seats to around 250. But the real surprises came in the Gubernatorial races. Republicans not only won tough races in Florida, Michigan, Maine, Kansas and Wisconsin; but also won Gubernatorial elections in Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts – states where Republicans barely outnumber Ivory Billed Woodpeckers.
No state was riper for a Republican takeover than Connecticut. Governor Dan Malloy, with a 35% approval rating, was vulnerable. He proceeded to raise taxes to confiscatory levels, give sinecures with lavish pensions to his cronies while handing out taxpayer money to avaricious corporations and hedge funds. Connecticut is now the leading state where citizens are planning to leave. Our roads are a mess, our infrastructure is crumbling, our inner cities are war zones, jobs for young people are non-existent and our pensions are grossly underfunded. The only thing that is improving are the handicaps of our State’s early retirees.
Enter the Republican Party Insiders, who specialize in convincing Greenwich millionaires that they are electable. Tom Foley worked hard and adequately represented Republican values; but it is quite difficult for a Republican with a 116-foot yacht with a suggestive name to win in Connecticut. Ask in Linda McMahon. One of my patients, a hairdresser, told me that she was going to vote for Tom Foley until she heard he paid no income taxes for three years. Maybe if our Party Insiders spent more time listening to average voters than hanging out in Greenwich, we could win an election.
Connecticut is what is called a Convention State. Each town has both a Democratic and Republican town committee. They nominate local officials for various town positions – Board of Education, Planning and Zoning, First Selectman etc. They also send delegates to various nominating conventions for State Representative, State Senator, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senate and Governor. These delegates then choose the candidates. This system is dominated by individuals who have been active in the state Republican Party for years if not decades – the Party Insiders.
Very few states have Conventions Systems. Those that do are among the original 13 colonies. In fact, the Convention System is actually a feudal remnant from England and was used to pick earls, dukes and even kings when an heir was not apparent. It is as antiquated as feudalism. It wastes the times of prospective candidates. Instead of raising money, meeting with civic groups and establishing a database of supporters, candidates must address town committees and constantly harass delegates. This is the only way to get on the ballot as Party Insiders have made it almost impossible to petition one’s way onto the ballot.
Even when a candidate receives the support of a Town Committee, there is no assurance that the assigned delegates will vote for that candidate. Party Insiders simply switch the votes of delegates at the Convention. When I was running for Congress this year, I won the vote of a Town Committee. The Town Chairman just smirked in my face and told me he would change the votes of the town’s delegates at the Convention: Which is exactly what he did, denying me access to the ballot.
When this happens to a lackluster politician like me, it’s no big deal. But when Party Insiders manipulate the Convention in favor of weaker candidates, it’s a disaster. This is exactly what happened at the Gubernational Convention. While Tom Foley won the majority of the delegates, Mark Boughton – a much stronger candidate – earned over 15% of the delegates, surpassing the threshold to force a Primary. Party Insiders, believing that Foley would be incapable of beating Boughton in a one-on-one battle switched delegates to push a third gubernatorial candidate, John McKinney, over the 15% threshold – insuring a three way primary.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, Boughton’s running mate – Heather Somers – abandoned him making it impossible for him to quality for matching funds from the State. Boughton graciously withdrew leaving Foley to primary one-on-one with McKinney. McKinney ran advertisements attacking Foley, calling him arrogant and uncaring. Foley won the Primary but quickly blew his lead to the ruthless and savvy Malloy, who picked up where McKinney left off. The rest is history.
Many of my friends ask me why I spend my time doing politics. They point out to me that I obviously am not that good at it. Furthermore, they see the average politician and political insiders as oily individuals, whose word cannot be trusted and who will do anything to win. My response is always the same: these people – whether we like it are not – create the world we live in. As Plato said: To not be involved in politics is to be governed by your inferiors.
Connecticut was once a beautiful and prosperous state. When my wife and I moved her 27 years ago, there was no state income tax and unemployment was 1.9%. Because we have allowed the Democrats to win, we are about to become a Third World Country, with the Greenwich hedge fund and financial barons making monopoly money, the poor becoming poorer and more dependent on government handouts and the middle class heading for the doors. Thank you Party Insiders.