Third Party & Independents Archives

The Connecticut Senate Democratic Primary - more important than you think

The 2006 off year election may have a greater impact on the country than any such election in the past 100 years. The Connecticut primary between Lamont and Lieberman on August 8th may determine the face of the United States for decades. While it is usually seen as a pro vs. anti war election, that issue pales into insignificance when examined from a broader perspective.

At stake is control of the Senate. Should Lamont win on the 8th, the seat is up in the air. Should Leiberman win the primary, if history holds true, it will remain in the Democrats' camp. This puts the Democrats within shooting distance of controlling the upper house.

The question boils down to the question, who will win in November in a three way race? Lamont is an inexperienced, unknown candidate; he does not have a track record in politics, which is less so for the Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger. Usually, this is a recipe for a loss with the experienced Leiberman running. But this may change. The Republicans, smelling victory are pressuring Schlesinger to step down, allowing a stronger candidate to run. If a pullout in Iraq begins before November, Lamont loses his central issue: the war. With the Democratic vote split, a Republican win becomes the most probable result. Lamont will have assumed the role of Ralph Nader in 2000, who opened the door for a Bush victory by splitting the Democratic vote.

Consider the election from a national perspective. Should the Democrats win, control of the Senate will change hands. The party in power has considerable influence in writing and bringing bills to the floor. It would allow the Senate to hold hearings unfavorable to the Administration and possibly influence the 2008 election. It could bottle up conservative candidates for judicial openings, thus keeping them from coming to a vote.

The greatest impact will be felt if another Supreme Court seat becomes open. In a Democratic controlled Senate the next appointee is likely be a moderate, a true swing vote. If the Republicans control the Senate, it is likely the court will become ideologically conservative, possibly for decades.

The greatest blow to progressives occurs if Leiberman wins as an independent. He would become one of the most powerful Senators in Congress. The cost of his vote may determine the direction of future legislation. It would be ironic that, instead of eliminating his vote, Lamont supporters would multiply Leiberman's power many fold.

Democratic voters will be faced with a dilemma. Should the election be based upon the position of the candidates and thereby running the risk of continued conservative Republican control of the Senate? Should it take a parliamentary perspective endorsing Democratic control. Or, should it install Leiberman as a major power broker? The outcome could define the face of the US for decades.

Posted by M.L. Schneider at July 13, 2006 3:19 PM
Comments
Comment #167230
Democratic voters will be faced with a dilemma. Should the election be based upon the position of the candidates and thereby running the risk of continued conservative Republican control of the Senate? Should it take a parliamentary perspective endorsing Democratic control. Or, should it install Leiberman as a major power broker? The outcome could define the face of the US for decades.

The Democrats have a slim chance of winning the Senate. Leiberman will not be a major power broker—he will continue to be a DLC moron, with or without his senatorial title.

This inflation of the importance of this off-year election lacks legs. The real important elections (2000, 2004) have already been held. Progressives and liberals are screwed—they can’t even get on the same page with an illegal war staring them in the face, and a runaway, rogue president trashing the rule of law.

The thrust of this article is specious.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 13, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #167237

I seriously doubt that Lieberman will not win his party’s nomination no matter what the party does to him to be honest. But that’s just my opinion. I feel that in the end the dems will look at it just as the author has and decide to ‘swallow their bile’ long enough to vote for a guy that they’ve loved and supported for decades. All because he took a single principled stand that goes against the party line… um, I think.

It’s really tough to tell what the real democrat party line is on the war.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 13, 2006 5:47 PM
Comment #167240

If people want to fix the problem with elections, they should change the election rules to require the winner to reciveve a Majority of the votes. That’s the first step in making our congress people more accountable.

Then people can embrace a democratic election instead of whining about “stealing” votes - which is rediculous since no one deserves a vote if they can’t motivate people to vote for them. We have to get out of this vote for bad or worse two-choice mentallity. Voting for the “less of two evils” results in putting evil back in power and further gives the impression that you have consented to/endorse it.

All this stategizing, us vs. them mentality is what has led out country into the unproductive and wasteful status quo its in. More independents in congress would be a good thing, maybe if they are skilled they can create compromises. Compromise is what our country was founded on, and what makes our country work best.

Posted by: Redlenses at July 13, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #167248

Redlenses,

I would disagree about the compromise being what makes our country work best.

A heated debate during the writing of the declaration of indepenance about slavery led to compromises. So did the line between federal power and states rights during the writing of The Constitution.

The Result? A Civil War.

Sometimes principle is much more important than a pollreader, especially when it comes to protecting the rights of the minority. A majority needs little protecting. We can see the effects of this even today.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 13, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #167250

Tim,
I place no value judgment on the outcome as you have. I am only interested in the potential results. If the Senate splits 49-50-1 with the Dems holding 50 seats, an independent voting with the Republicans tips the scales. That single person could be responsible for keeping the status quo or shifting control to the Dems. It is a simple case of counting. With the separation of powers, changes in the control of either house changes the outcome of bills. For the Senate it impacts appointments.

Posted by: M. L. Schneider at July 13, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #167262

I stand corrected.

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 13, 2006 6:32 PM
Comment #167324

M.L., very good traditional analysis of the race.

But, it is an analysis based on the assumption that it matters which party holds the Senate. It doesn’t. And that is where your analysis may fall short.

All across this country are voters who intend to vote out incumbents regardless of party. They are the future. They are the voters who will vote results from Congress in solving our major problems. Their numbers are growing, and will continue to as long as the major issues like illegal immigration, Soc Sec. and Medicare resolution, fiscal responsibility, and corruption of politicians in office, continue to go unresolved.

The parties, which one wins, where, is no longer important for the long term health of country because the current system and corruption are ruining our future regardless of which party has control. They enjoy an average 94% reelection rate regardless of how bad they do. That is what increasing numbers of voters are setting out to change.

And the trend will continue to not care which party is the majority, the voting will become increasingly anti-incumbent until enough incumbents have lost, to force the remainder to take these voters seriously and put partisanship and party ideology aside and secure sustainable solutions to our growing list of intractable problems.

I have no way of knowing how large or to what level of committment the anti-incumbent voters in Connecticut have grown to, but, the writing is on the wall, Political Parties and their incumbents are killing the future of this country, and the only way to force them back to responsibility, accountability, transparency, bipartisan solutions that work and are sustainable long enough to effect problem resolution, is to vote incumbents out, and keep voting for challengers, regardless of party, until they get the anti-incumbent voter’s message: Results Are All That Matter - promises and rhetoric and spin will no longer work to insure reelection in more and more key races.

There are going to be a lot more Nader type spoilers for both parties in elections coming, it is a natural consequence of the anti-incumbent movement and sentiment of voters, which chooses challengers over incumbents.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 13, 2006 9:19 PM
Comment #167343

M.L. Schneider:
“The Republicans, smelling victory are pressuring Schlesinger to step down, allowing a stronger candidate to run.”

Do you live in Connecticut? It’s a very blue state, you know. Indigo, you might say. Something like two thirds of voters are Democrats. So, IMO, it seems highly unlikely a Republican could win, no matter who they get to run.
Oh — but this is assuming that no dirty Dieboldness will occur that might magically produce a big, unbelieveable, surprise win for the GOP in November.

“If a pullout in Iraq begins before November, Lamont loses his central issue: the war.”

I thoroughly disagree. Democrats aren’t morons. They know that Joe has wholeheartedly supported the dreadful debacle which is Iraq from the beginning. They also know the man hasn’t voted or sounded like a Democrat in ages. And when the likes of Rush, the Pill Poppin’ Doughboy and Mistress Coultergeist have been daily singing Joe’s praises, well, even the most unquestioning of Democrats have got to know this is not a good sign. Lamont may find he has it easier than you’d normally think.

“With the Democratic vote split, a Republican win becomes the most probable result.”

No. American’s are sick to death of Republican lock-steppers and rubberstampers of this administration and their “stay the losing course” rhetoric. In fact, now that 2 in 3 Americans want us out of Iraq, I’m beginning to think we may see a whole lot of GOP losses this November. That’s not taking the questionable state of our elections, or super-easy computer hackability into account, of course.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 13, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #167352

Rhinehold,

A heated debate during the writing of the declaration of indepenance about slavery led to compromises. So did the line between federal power and states rights during the writing of The Constitution.

The Result? A Civil War.

Without those compromises, there never would have been a Civil War, because there never would have been a nation! The problems that led to the Civil War existed even during the Revolution. Because of the compromises you speak of, our founding fathers were able to build a country despite those problems.

Compromise is the key to a continued government. Majority rule does not lead to peace, especially in a 51/49 split. Compromise allows large minorities to be represented.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at July 13, 2006 10:14 PM
Comment #167367

Rob:

“Compromise allows large minorities to be represented.”

Great. So when will large majorities be represented—such as the %64 that want us out of Iraq in the near future?

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 13, 2006 10:42 PM
Comment #167387

Tim Crow,

Great. So when will large majorities be represented—such as the %64 that want us out of Iraq in the near future?

When that large majority gets off it’s collective ass and goes to the polls. The opinions of half of all Americans don’t matter, because that half stays home on election day. And the ones who do go to the polls usually get suckered into voting out of fear instead of actually supporting someone they agree with. “Bush sucks, so you MUST vote Democrat”… or “Clinton sucks, so you MUST vote Republican”… or some other such nonsense.

Adrienne,

Do you live in Connecticut? It’s a very blue state, you know. Indigo, you might say. Something like two thirds of voters are Democrats. So, IMO, it seems highly unlikely a Republican could win, no matter who they get to run.

If Leiberman runs as an Independent, he could split the vote on the Left, possibly enough to put a strong Republican into office. Turn a 60/40 split into a 30/30/40 split, and you make a winner out of a loser.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at July 13, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #167391

Rob:

“When that large majority gets off it’s collective ass and goes to the polls. “

And who will they vote for that will gaurantee get us out of Iraq?

Posted by: Tim Crow at July 13, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #167403

Adrienne,

Yes, I live in Connecticut, but it is far from a blue state. The facts show otherwise. Of the five members of the House, three are Republican. The Governor is Republican. Before Lieberman won his seat, it was held by a Republican. It was the broad appeal of Lieberman as Attorney General that contributed to his victory in the first place. It was the broad appeal of Lieberman as Attorney General that contributed to his victory in the first place.

Posted by: M. L. Schneider at July 13, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #167420

M.L. and Rob,

In my opinion, Lieberman very seriously damaged his standing with Democrats the moment he announced he would run as an independent. He’s so desperate to keep his seat that he’d be willing to ignore the primary results if he loses? Not good. That kind of uncomfortable squirming and obvious fear is palpable to voters — and I get the feeling that it’s going to take an extremely heavy toll in the primary.
The way I see it, the man has violated a fundamental sense of fairness among Dems with this move, and I think it’s going to give Lamont exactly the edge he needs to pull ahead.
Right now, because lots of people (who don’t keep up with the news) aren’t paying any attention to November, Lieberman is doing well in the polls, but the minute he actually turns his back on his party to be an independent who would actually run against a Democrat, I think his numbers are sure to nosedive very quickly.
Nobody likes that kind of betrayal. I don’t care how long he’s been in the Senate, this is going to turn people off. Bigtime.
Also, why would Republicans vote for independent, Republican-Lite Lieberman when they can vote for a real Republican?
Think about it — and then tell me how I’m completely wrong.

Posted by: Adrienne at July 14, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #167427
Without those compromises, there never would have been a Civil War, because there never would have been a nation! The problems that led to the Civil War existed even during the Revolution. Because of the compromises you speak of, our founding fathers were able to build a country despite those problems.

You’re joking, right?

It was principle that created this nation. The principle to stand up for what was right and stop being subjecated by King George. To create a place where people could be free to think, believe and live as they wished without being told what is right for them by someone else.

If they wanted ‘compromise’ they could have had it with Britan. It wasn’t compromise but the understanding that while your neighbor may do something you don’t think is right it’s really not your place to say as long as he isn’t denying any rights to someone else in the process.

But soon Americans got forgetful and longed for those days when compromise was the way to ensure that all strife could end if we could just make everyone be like those smarter than us. We compromised ourselves into giving up most of our freedoms. Because we didn’t want to stand up for freedom in our own country we allowed our government under the guise of ‘helping others’ to wrest control of our own lives away from ourselves.

We now sit in a situation where we can’t say what we want to say, can’t do what we want to do and we can’t even think what we want to think. We’ve outlawed some thought, can you imagine! Is this compromised world what our founding fathers wanted for us?

I think not. But I’m assuming you do?

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 14, 2006 1:59 AM
Comment #167428
Also, why would Republicans vote for independent, Republican-Lite Lieberman when they can vote for a real Republican?

I think even Republicans are looking for someone who votes their convictions instead of always following the party line these days…

But yeah, I don’t think Lieberman would have a chance as an independant, but I also don’t think he’s going to have to make that decision either.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 14, 2006 2:01 AM
Comment #167443

Adrienne,

According to news reports, Lieberman has received advice from some Democrat leaders to focus on November. They see control of the Senate as more important than supporting Lamont who may not be able to win the general election.

Remember, I am interested the potential outcomes.

Posted by: M. L. Schneider at July 14, 2006 6:31 AM
Comment #167467

Adrienne,

Right now, because lots of people (who don’t keep up with the news) aren’t paying any attention to November, Lieberman is doing well in the polls, but the minute he actually turns his back on his party to be an independent who would actually run against a Democrat, I think his numbers are sure to nosedive very quickly. Nobody likes that kind of betrayal. I don’t care how long he’s been in the Senate, this is going to turn people off. Bigtime.

Yeah… the last thing those people want is someone who would put the interest of his country over the interest of his party. Democrat first, American second — is that the way it should be?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at July 14, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #167468

Rhinehold,

It was principle that created this nation. The principle to stand up for what was right and stop being subjecated by King George. To create a place where people could be free to think, believe and live as they wished without being told what is right for them by someone else.

No.. that “principle” didn’t create a nation — it created 13 nations. Compromise is what allowed those nations (who agreed with that “principle”) to join as one, despite their other differences.

As for compromising with Britain… the colonists tried that first, actually. Only when they realized that Britain wouldn’t compromise did they resort to revolution. And because the colonists WERE willing to compromise — with each other — they were able to break away from the control of King George.

Today, there are many issues that divide us — abortion, gay rights, flag-burning, immigration, Iraq. Does that mean that we should have another revolution? Build a pro-life nation and a pro-choice nation? Or an isolationist nation and a free-trade nation? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Because the core principles we agreed upon in 1776 are still valid today. For the other things, we compromise, so that we can remain together as a nation.

If you’re only willing to build a nation with people who agree with you all of the time, the country of Rhinehold is going to have a VERY small population.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at July 14, 2006 9:17 AM
Comment #167476

Rhinehold said: “I think even Republicans are looking for someone who votes their convictions instead of always following the party line these days…”

Yep. I have an article coming up in a couple hours with a poll reflecting some of that very same Republican and conservative sentiment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #167479

As far as I can see, Lieberman has already damaged this race beyond repair. If he wins the primary, a percentage of Democratic voters will stay home on Nov. 7 in protest of his Iraq War stance and Bush support/kiss.

If he loses the primary, then the Democratic Party’s vote will be split on Nov. 7.

Either way, all the Republican candidate has to do is rally the conservative base to the polls and he will likely squeak out a win against Lieberman.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 14, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #167480

M.L.:
“Remember, I am interested the potential outcomes.”

In my view, the potential outcome of having Leiberman win the Democratic primary is much too similar to having a Republican win it.

Rob:
“Yeah… the last thing those people want is someone who would put the interest of his country over the interest of his party. Democrat first, American second — is that the way it should be?”

If Joe wanted to put the interest of his country first, he’d have been against this insane and illegal war and occupation in Iraq — especially now after all we’ve learned about how they took us there. He’d also have been rejecting a great many other decisions this administration has made while in office. But he hasn’t done either. And what pray tell, is the difference between Leiberman’s loyalty to his own power — trying to keep his seat at any and all costs, and people wanting him to be loyal to the principles of the voters who gave him that power and that seat in the first place?

Posted by: Adrienne at July 14, 2006 10:24 AM
Comment #167506

For entertainment purposes, here’s Colbert’s take on Lieberman and Lamont. Hilarious!

Posted by: Adrienne at July 14, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #167520

Adrienne,

As I stated in my initial post, you are looking at this race from the perspective of individual votes and positions of each candidate. If you take a wider view, however, the positions of Joe and Ned may be of less importance than the composition of the Senate.

In this case, we are looking at who will control the flow of legislation; who will chair committees; who will place the greater level of checks and balances on the executive. As I stated, the longer term, implication will be in the Supreme Court. Should a vacancy appear, the type of justice appointed will differ between a Republican and Democratically controlled Senate (yes David, there is a difference). Will there be greater balance in the Court if the Republicans control the Senate? If the court develops an ideological, conservative philosophy, there will be long term differences ranging from control of corporations to reproductive rights.

Your assumption is the winner of the primary stands the same chance at winning the general election in November. Lamont does not appeal to the broad segment of the electorate as does Lieberman; then, even if it were a two-way race, he would lose. This is the voter’s dilemma: de we vote on the wider perspective or on individual positions?

Posted by: M. L. Schneider at July 14, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #167532

Adrienne,

If Joe wanted to put the interest of his country first, he’d have been against this insane and illegal war and occupation in Iraq — especially now after all we’ve learned about how they took us there.

I’ve been opposed to the Iraq war since well before it began. But I can recognize, and I hope you can too, that many people thought that the war was in the country’s best interest. Some of those people still believe it, no matter how we got there. It’s not always because they’re focused on personal power — it’s mostly because they have different priorities than you and I do.

As for Lieberman, look at the past elections. He obviously had more votes than just Democratic votes when he was elected in the past. Just because the Democrats may not want him to run on THEIR ticket doesn’t mean he shouldn’t run. Doesn’t he owe that to ALL of his supporters, not just his Democratic ones?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at July 14, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #167806

ML Schneider, responding to your comment “Yes, David there is a difference” regarding the Supreme Court nomination by party:

What good does it our nation to try to balance the court when the court itself has become a political football? What good is it to have a Constitution and judicial interpretation if the Republocrats continue to corrupt the the offices of the executive and Congress? Clinton used signing statements as Bush is today, to circumvent the law when needed. Secrecy in government has plagued our democracy with corruption by political officials nearly since our nation’s founding, but at no time to the degree and to the levels of loss for the American people as today.

What good is it to balance the court when the Congress and White House bypass the court when needed with a wink and nod by Republocrats that its OK though we have to protest to keep up appearances, as long as we get our turn to exercise the same circumventions of the Constitution and law.

How is it that the Constitution vests the authority to engage in war to the Congress, and yet, since WWII, we have engaged in war after war without Congressional declaration at the hands of usurped power by the Executive branch, with a wink and nod by Congress?

What good is it to balance the court when after more than 200 years, we still have not implemented transparent, accountable voting in America which leaves no room for doubt as to the victor in our elections? And by design mind you of the Republocrat Parties.

The court can rule until hell freezes over but it will not save the country from the abuses of power by the Republocrat parties who have demonstrated that they will sacrifice Constitutional provisions for the sake of attaining and keeping power. Gerrymandering comes to mind.

No, I disagree. There is no difference in the long run. And there never will be as long as the voters fail to hold politicians and political parties to far, far higher standards of accountability and regularly exercise their constitutional right to remove from office those whose tenures fail to produce the results expected by the voters. An average 94% reelectability rate in these times is an absolute indictment of the failure of our democracy and its function in accordance with the design of the founding father’s intended.

Political parties were a fear of some of our founding fathers. Their fears have become status quo reality in our time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 1:05 PM
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