Politics & Other Mistakes: On the fringes

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Let’s suppose you’re a Republican stalwart (i.e., an insane person), who wants to see Donald Trump win at least one electoral vote in Maine this November. Your best bet for accomplishing that nonsensical objective is to oppose GOP efforts to stop ranked-choice voting.

Republicans, both nationally and locally, have spent more than $400,000 on a petition drive in the futile effort to prevent ranked-choice from being used in this state’s presidential elections. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided the GOP had not gathered enough valid signatures to get their People’s Veto on the ballot. If the justices had ruled the other way the referendum would have gone forward, thereby blocking ranked-choice in this year’s presidential balloting. That decision is bad news for the poisonous orange toadstool.

Here’s why: There are three other candidates on the ballot besides Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. That trio is far more likely to draw votes from Biden than Science-Denying Donald.

None of those also-running candidates is Kanye West, who’s campaigning for president on a platform that consists entirely of liking everything about Trump except Trump. But West got in the race too late to qualify for Maine’s ballot, which is probably a good thing for Trumpsters. As liberal podcaster Mike Tipping put it, “I think a lot of people would have put Kanye first (on their ranked-choice ballots) as a joke.”

The trio of fringe-party hopefuls is Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, Jo Jorgensen of the Libertarian Party, and Rocky De La Fuente of the Alliance Party. All three are proposing radical ideas that might appeal to progressives frustrated with Biden’s chronic blandness, while also backing measures that no self-respecting Trumpoid (sorry, oxymoron) could stomach.

Let’s start with Hawkins. In addition to having won the Green nomination, he’s also been endorsed by the Socialist Party USA. He has bad things to say about capitalism (“a terrible steward of the environment”) and good things to say about guaranteed government benefits (“the rights to a living-wage job … a decent home, comprehensive health care, a good public education from child care and pre-K through college, and a secure retirement”). There’s zero chance he’ll siphon a single vote away from Trump, but Biden needs to worry.

On the surface, Jorgensen would seem to have some appeal for GOP voters. She backs the standard Libertarian line of reduced government and decreased international intervention (she promises to “turn America into one giant Switzerland, armed and neutral”). She’d do away with Social Security and allow individuals to make unlimited campaign contributions. What’s not for a fat-cat Republican to like? Well, there’s this: Jorgensen would allow anyone who pays taxes in the U.S. – including foreigners – to vote. Could someone get some smelling salts for Dale Crafts?

Finally, there’s De La Fuente, who ran for president in 2016 as the nominee of both the Reform Party and the American Delta Party. Now, he’s the choice of the newly formed Alliance Party, a merger of the American Moderates Party, the American Party of South Carolina, and the Modern Whig Party. His website informs us that “his intentions are pure,” which is a nice change. He’s against “corruption, stagnation and partisan politics,” which is hard to argue with. He’s for universal health care, a job guarantee program, welcoming undocumented immigrants, and raising the retirement age to save Social Security. De La Fuente also seems to favor gun control, although he goes to torturous lengths to say that in ways that make it seem as if he’s not.

Trump has everything to gain by letting these oddballs appear on ranked-choice ballots to lure off a few disgruntled Biden voters. But the GOP seems intent on not allowing RCV to work, even when it might work to Republicans’ advantage, particularly in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which the ‘Rona Rager won handily in 2016.

As with many proposals by the Greens, Libs, and whatever Alliance Party members call themselves, that makes no sense. But as I mentioned earlier, the Republican Party isn’t for people with allergies to nuts.

Registrations for the Keg Party can be emailed to [email protected].

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