Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Peter Hutchinson on IMP

From the current update on Inside Minnesota Politics:
Peter Hutchinson likes to quote a December SurveyUSA poll that shows more people in Minnesota (38%) say they are independents than they are Democrats (31%) or Republicans (30%). He says that bodes well for his Independence Party run for Governor.

Despite that statistic, Hutchinson knows that if he is get elected Governor, he must engaged the "disillusioned" voters who are tired of politicians who are afraid to "speak the truth".

"You know the formula," says Hutchinson "Play to the extremes to get endorsed and then try to convince the middle that you really were with them all along."
Or, one might actually speak to Minnesotans about one's values, policies, and ideas, and through an honest approach to the political process, convince voters that they are a true leader for the future. There are already candidates in the gubernatorial race doing so. Note the plural - this isn't just favoritism.

I recently received Mr. Hutchinson's email update in which he quoted the poll mentioned by IMP, and it didn't resonate with me anymore than it does now. Polls like the one he mentions are useless, since he fails to mention the underlying truth in those numbers - yes, 38% of Minnesotan voters do not belong to either major political party, but that does NOT put them in the middle of the political spectrum - all it means is that they do not belong to either major party. Some are conservative, some are liberal, and some are in between, but all have voting tendencies. Some usually vote Republican even though they are not members of the Republican Party, and some usually vote DFL even though they're not members of the DFL. Very few, perhaps 10% in any given election, are truly "undecided" and "in the middle of the two parties" as it seems Mr. Hutchinson would like them to be. This is a standard feature of American elections going as far back as President Wilson and his close advisor, Colonel House.

How's that for a history lesson? Look it up, or better yet, read The Shield of Achilles, by Philip Bobbitt. Amazing book. Anyway.

The point is that the Great and Vast Middle of the Political Spectrum that Mr. Hutchinson refers to and is depending on simply doesn't exist. Yes, voters are angry with the major parties for letting the July government shutdown happen, but that doesn't necessarily translate into penalties for individual candidates at the ballot box, especially those who are running for larger offices than they currently hold.

Mr. Hutchinson is displaying a dangerous misconception of political tendencies here, and it speaks to a larger problem with third-party candidates nowadays. Start small, stick to your values and policies, and someday, if you work hard, you can make real inroads into the political system - the Populists did it. Instead of tossing barbs at both major parties, perhaps Mr. Hutchinson would be game to answer this question, without references to DFLers or Republicans: What makes you better-equipped than anyone else to lead the State of Minnesota? I've heard him try to answer this question a couple times, and I have to be honest - I haven't been satisfied with his answer. Kelly Doran may not be the ideal DFL candidate in my mind or political heart, but at least he has decent reasons for running other than "everyone else sucks".

Blogger lloydletta said:
Hutchinson sounded like a democrat to me in the interview - and his whole riff about guns, gays, god and gynecology sounded like standard dem talking points when wanting to avoid these issues.

The problem for the Independence party is they don't have the organization and voter id files that the two major parties do. The IP candidate running in the special election in Buffalo, in the special election in Apple Valley and the special election in St Cloud didn't do well. In the Apple Valley case, the former mayor of Apple Valley ran for a state senate seat. The Republican candidate easily painted the IP person a "democrat" - and the IP wasn't able to help this person win.

Mike Hatch would say in an interview that he wants to avoid all the G issues also.
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