Yesterday, the progressive blogger Mbrian wrote a crybaby post on Blog for Arizona complaining that Project White House’s 20 odd dark-horse candidates on the Arizona ballot created an undue burden on election volunteer workers in Pima county. He writes, assuming he’s a he:
“The result was an appreciable amount of volunteer time burned needlessly by the counting and recounting of ballots because of these dead-weight candidates…
“Next time, Weekly, consider the poor poll workers, elections employees, and audit volunteers whose time and resources are wasted by stupid and extravagant PR stunts with our elections that don’t produce any public good whatsoever.”
Ba-fucking-loney. First of all, the only dead-weights candidates on the Arizona ballot were the “main-stream” Republicans and Democrats who wussed out before Super Duper Tuesday. Here’s the list of drop-outs who appeared on the Arizona Ballot:
These are the politicians who sent 22 states into their primaries with long ballots with only a few active candidates. Each of these flunkies pulled in several thousand votes that also needed to be handcounted but would have no impact whatsoever on the elections. They weren’t even candidates anymore.
Conversely, although Project White House’s candidates were extreme long-shots, some barely making it into double-digits in the vote count, at least their campaigns were still active up until the very last moment. Hell, several of them are considering independent runs in the general election.
As far as Project White House being a publicity stunt for the Tucson Weekly… again, ba-fucking-loney. Of the three individuals who dedicated their time to bringing Project White House to life, only one, Jim Nintzel, was an actual TW staffer. I can’t speak for Hector Acuna, but I know I joined up because I believed that it was a worthy, if not fun-as-hell, use of my time. The more non-institutional candidates who answer the call to serve, the better. The more voices empowered to represent their marginalized, hyper-minority communities, the better. The more citizens who experience the electoral process from the inside, rather than the outside, the better. After all, this is a Democracy.
Plus, I knew we’d break incredible new ground; never before has the internet been more conducive to uniting marginalized and frustrated voters. Just look at Ron Paul’s campaign.
By Mbrian’s logic and sympathy, it seems he’d prefer an Iraqi regime-style election, where voters would get to choose between voting for Saddam and voting for Saddam, because it would be significantly easier for all the poor election volunteers forced to hand-count ballots. Screw that.
There’s no doubt in my mind that, as Mbrian suggests, Arizona lawmakers will tighten up the ballot process for 2012. But before he endorses the move, Mbrian should take a look at AZ’s neighbor, New Mexico, and it’s screwed up nomination process and what could happen if legislators attempt to rewrite the law.
As my co-writer David Alire Garcia at the Santa Fe Reporter reported a few months ago, thanks to poorly passed legislation, only Congressional candidates that can convince 20 percent of party officials of their viability can make the ballot and plead their case to voters. This has resulted in a race to replace retiring US Senator Pete Domenici where Democrats can choose between Rep. Tom Udall and Rep. Tom Udall. Republicans get to choose from Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Heather Wilson. All other candidates, both competent and bizarre, have been discouraged from running. Not exactly Democratic, is it?
UPDATE: According to the AZ Secretary of State, Rhett Smith actually pulled in 39 votes!