Livin' it up, American style

Monday, October 30, 2006

3rd Party candidates, they're rare, but they do exist.

Back in August, Joe Lieberman (D-CT) lost the Democratic primary race for US senate to Ned Lamont. Leiberman promptly announced that he would run for his 4th term in the Senate as an independent candidate. Currently, he is leading Lamont by 14 points in the polls. So what exactly does it mean for the Democrats if Lieberman is re-elected as an Independent?

Well, not much will change. Lieberman is running his campaign saying that he will continue to caucus and vote with the Democrats if he gets elected. He'll basically take over the spot of Jim Jeffords (I-VT), the current Senate's lone independent who is not running for reelection. Leiberman claims that he will even retain his seniority within the Democratis Party, meaning he'll still get to hold high ranking positions on certain committees, just as Jeffords did.

If Lieberman is reelected, he probably won't be the Senate's only independent. Current House Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), is likely to win the Vermont Senate seat that Jeffords is vacating. What party is Sanders, you ask? He's a Socialist. Not too many of them around these days, but he's quite popular up in Vermont. As a House Representative, he caucuses with the Democrats, so it's likely he will continue to do so if elected to the Senate.

Lieberman isn't the only 3rd party spoiler candidate running a legitimate race. Harold Ford Jr is the current US House Rep from the 9th district of Tennessee, but he is vacating his seat to run for the US Senate. The 9th district is a large, heavily Democratic district that includes almost all of the city of Memphis. The district was created after the 1980 census, and was gerrymandered to be a majority black district. In 1975, Harold Ford Sr won the seat, and held it until he retired in 1997, whereupon his son, Harold Ford Jr won the seat and has held it until now. The winner of the Democratic primary race back in August was Steve Cohen. Unfortunately, it is important to note that Cohen is white (and Jewish). See, the 9th district was created "so African Americans and white people could send an African American to Congress." (Memphis Flyer) Prominent African-Americans in Memphis are upset that Cohen won, saying that the 9th district, as 60% African American, should be represented by an African American.

And here enters Jake Ford. You may notice a similarity of last names, he is indeed the son of Harold Ford Sr and brother to Harold Ford Jr. He decided to enter the Congressional race as an independent, though he says he would caucus and vote with the Democrats if elected. He has 2 'qualifications'; he is black, and his last name is Ford. I know I personally don't consider being a high school drop-out and spending time in jail as qualifications for the US Congress. But he is actually attracting some supporters.

I can understand the desire of African Americans to be represented in Congress by someone of their own skin color, but I don't think that this desire is so absolute that they would not vote for a qualified non-white person, if they felt him to be the best candidate. I also wonder if they would prefer to vote for a very unqualified, high school drop-out who is incapable of articulating his platform and has a bit of a temper merely because he is black. Several prominent African Americans have shown that they agree with that, but I hope normal people realize that Steve Cohen has been representing Memphis in the TN General Assembly for the last 24 years, while Jake Ford has um, well, he was arrested about 4 times, and uh, he did get his GED, and oh, of course, his last name is Ford.


  • legacy politicians
    politico brats
    shame shame shame

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