The Nihilist Party Line

11 Oct

In this week’s print version of Artvoice, Geoff Kelly wonders what’s so independent about the Independence Party? He points to an IP line challenge waged against Stefan Mychajliw in the Comptroller’s race, 

The Independence Party is famous for being a tool that major party candidates manipulate to drain their opponents of resources and votes. Similar chicanery attended the successful effort by incumbent State Senator Mark Grisanti, a Republican, to win the IP line in the 60th District. Grisanti’s nominating petitions were circulated not by IP members but by Republicans, many of them from out of the region.

All this is of no consequence now, but it begs the question: Given the way major parties use the IP as their playground, what exactly is the Independence Party? And what’s “independent” about it?

I feel like I’ve been shouting in the deep, dark wilderness. Electoral fusion is part of what makes New York a banana republic. 

Electoral fusion is awful. It is the root of very many evils. It allows candidates and other connected individuals to manipulate elections in order to maximize political power and monetary return (patronage jobs, e.g.) for them and their hangers-on. There is no rational way that Ralph Lorigo, for example, should have the power he has. There was no way a barber from Springville should have been a kingmaker. The Conservative Party is, for the most part, a wholly owned subsidiary of the highest bidder. The statewide Independence Party was so angry about being manipulated by Democrats who were using it to trick low-information voters who thought they were voting for a small-i “independent” that they decided to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the state Republican Committee.

Electoral fusion is constantly being manipulated by bad people for bad reasons. It is used as a shield against some fantastical electoral rigor whereby a (R) will never color in the box for a (D) and vice-versa. It is used as a sword against people who don’t play ball with very petty people. 

You can read some examples here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  

5 Responses to “The Nihilist Party Line”

  1. Bruce Kogan October 11, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    A vast majority of the other states get along without  fusion, why is New York so blessed?

  2. BufChester October 11, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    So, how do we end fusion? 

    • Alan Bedenko October 11, 2012 at 8:32 am #

      A state law would need to be passed. Good luck getting a majority of anyone there to suggest it.

  3. Bruce Kogan October 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    The major parties get together and decide to pass a ban on cross-endorsements.  That simple, but not that
    easy. 

  4. tonyintonawanda October 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    The number of votes required to be a recognized third party in NYS is 50,000 in a gubernatorial year.  I can’t remember that number ever changing.  Increase it to a reasonable number, say 250,000.  A third party would have to build legitimate party infrastructure, voter registration drives, etc. to reach that number.  If it did, then it would truly be representative of some degree of NY’s population.  Most would simply fade away and the problem would be gone.

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