Perry, Gingrich Out; Should Virginia Change Law in Time for 2012 Primary?


    (I don’t particularly agree with this, but it’s an interesting argument. – promoted by lowkell)

    Perry and Gingrich out as predicted: Should the 2012 General Assembly act on its first day to adopt the suggestion herein, and give GOP primary voters what should be their right, to choose their favorite candidate among those who are clearly credible contenders based on the polls?

    by Paul Goldman

    The failures of the Perry and Gingrich campaigns again point out the growing problem in our politics, which is that the internet makes it easy for anyone to talk the talk, but walking the walk is the same as when Moses had to get across the Red Sea without GPS on his Iphone: it is sweat equity, and low tide doesn’t hurt either. Stuff is hard to do. I am sure they will blame the President for this eventually.

    However: Just as states should not be allowed to use ID laws to unfairly restrict voting rights of the people, the Republican loyalists of Virginia should be entitled to vote in their primary for those credible candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. Admittedly, the thought of President Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Perry and Santorium, may be incredible, yet the people – in this case GOP voters – should have their right to pick their nominee.

    Bottom line: While other candidates have, over the years, managed to get on the ballot, the issue is really not about them, but about the people’s right to choose. This is a failing of the national Perry and Gingrich campaigns, I get that. BUT voting rights are about the people, not the process.

    Sure, the system has to be protected from fraud and the crazies, but this can’t be an excuse to, in effect, restrict the right of citizens to cast a ballot for their favorite candidate.


    Bachmann, Huntsman, Gingrich, Perry and Santorium meet the test of legitimate candidates for the GOP nomination. They are getting 5% or more in key polls right now.  Keeping them off the ballot denies the people their right to choose. To be sure the rules on ballot access are equal for all, and well known to the candidates. Virginia Republicans have one of the larger delegations to the GOP Convention, thus it is shocking to think their campaigns could be so incompetent.

    But is this process hurdle consistent with the right of the people?

    This year, the answer is no. If it were a gubernatorial candidate missing the ballot, I would say yes, they’ve got to take the blame and the consequences.

    But presidential candidates are different. Given that we are electing our national leader, logic would suggest we have similar rules for ballot access in all states. Before the 10th Amendment chorus pipes up (or those who want to remind me that we are called the United States of America for a reason), the state’s only agreeing after being assured of certain authorities. Remember, the Constitution gives Congress the power to set uniform standards. Maine used to vote in September for President, the rest later, leading to the famous adage “as Maine goes, so goes the nation.” This worked, given the 1860-1908 period when only one Democrat won, and Maine, like most of the North, voted with the GOP.  

    But eventually, Congress set a uniform day for presidential elections, leaving most of the other rules to be set state by state. This is why we have so many potential lawsuits right now, once again caused largely by each state setting its own rules for our national election for local reasons. It is not the best approach for America right now.

    As a matter of realism, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Thus, Virginia has to make a decision on principle here, there being no other compelling force. For example, Mr. Gingrich leads the GOP polls in Virginia and is either ahead or tied nationally.

    Did Newt’s campaign bungle the petition drive? Yes. Does this suggest what kind of chaotic White House would exist, if for some reason Americans wanted Newt’s finger on the nuclear trigger (are we that nuts?)? Indeed.

    But should Newt’s name be on the ballot in March given his political standing right now? Yes to that too.

    Should Newt’s campaign stay viable, Virginians will thus be shortchanged come March. The Secretary of the Commonwealth should have the power to put legitimate candidates on the ballot if they meet some credible markers of support, without requiring petitions. Those not meeting this test would still have the petition route.

    This would be a useful change for Virginia law, all upside, no downside.

    Moreover: There is still time to make this change this year. The Governor should order the State Board of Elections to wait before starting to print the ballot. Based on my experience, they can wait until the middle of January 2012. This gives time for the General Assembly to change the law.

    Democrats should help out here. It is not about Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Perry or Santorium. It is about the people and their right to choose. The shoe might be on the other foot someday for us Democrats. It also helps underscore the risk with all these ID laws which seem to have a partisan motivation.

    We need as open and fair a process for the people, that’s the goal. Right now, the projected GOP presidential primary ballot doesn’t meet this standard. We can change it in time for the March GOP primary in 2012. The people win, no one loses. It just takes a little extra work.

    I say do it.  

    • Hugo Estrada

      If they were, they would have made sure to get themselves in the ballot in VA. If someone like Ron Paul was able to pull that off, these other “believable” should have done it as well. They didn’t because, I assume, they both thought they were going to be out of the race by March.

    • glennbear
    • Hugo Estrada

      At least that is my sense of him. He wanted to spend a year spending money like there is no tomorrow with an expense account. Running for president was a great way of getting money out of his employers and friends so that he could spend 0.5 Million dollars in Tiffany and fly around in a private jet. That is why he has no real campaign anywhere: it is a shake down scam.

      Any kind of signature gathering mechanism is a protection against joke candidates. In Virginia, it seems that the purpose of the law is working.  

    • BatCave

      “voting rights are about the people, not the process.”  But I was shocked when I read Paul’s prior diary in which he seemed to shift in his position on the issue of caucus versus primary, in which he entertained the idea of a caucus over a primary.  The very issues Paul raises in this diary apply to conventions versus primar.  

      Caucuses are undemocratic, excludes voter participation and hurts minorities.  In addition, charging individuals $25.00 to run as a delegate to a state convention is nothing short of a poll tax, and is simply undemocratic.  All of these are good reasons as to why the rumors circulating that the McAuliffe campaign want a causes to select our nominee in 2013 are so offensive.  McAuliffe and any other Democrat  considering running for Governor (are you listening Viola)need to stand up firmly and support a primary.  Good Democrats across the state need to push-back hard against the idea of selecting our nominee via caucus and convention.  If not, they risk having the Democratic Party hauled into federal court by the ACLU, which they have done so well in the past to protect the rights of people voting.  

      Read chapter 9 here starting on page 277 for the details:…

    • You’re arguing that the ballot access criteria should be changed, but I missed the part where you said what they should be changed to. Are you seriously suggesting that polls be included as part of the ballot access process?

    • The Richmonder

      GOP candidates had six months to accomplish this relatively mild hurdle.  We got Jim Webb on the ballot in two months and we didn’t pay a collector for a single signature.  Webb had one paid staffer coordinating the process, the rest of us were volunteers.  I have no sympathy for Gingrich.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      Having been through the ordeal to get a presidential candidate on the ballot in Virginia (Dean), to me the worst part is the requirement that one have 400 bonafide signatures from every congressional district. That is very difficult to do and requires an excellent organization. (We did it!) The whole process is obviously designed to help establishment candidates over insurgent ones. That said, I see no reason why a candidate should not be required to submit 10,000, even 15,000, valid signatures to appear on the ballot. Either that, or achieve some sort of level of impartial polling support (i.e., more than 5%)

      Of course, the more candidates that appear on the ballot, the more likely that primary results will be fragmented, and the winner who takes all will be someone who gets far less than 50% of the vote.

      Even so, a primary is far superior for selecting candidates to a caucus or convention, and we do need to overhaul how it is done in Virginia. (Won’t get overhauled.)

    • Will Radle

      can vote for Ron Paul on March 6, 2012. Support him against Mr. One Percent!

      In Virginia it comes down to these two Republicans for President in March. If Rush Limbaugh can attempt Operation Chaos against Democrats; we have a clear opportunity to pull it off now and win.

      Thanks, Virginia Republicans!

      A. Will Radle, Jr.

      Creating a Culture of Listening

    • kindler

      …but I would not do so retroactively to help a few elites who can’t get their act together.  The GOP philosophy may be best summarized as “you’re on your own” — no handouts or helping hand if you’re down on your luck.

      If these candidates — who spend ever waking hour promoting this philosophy — had a shred of integrity, they would take full responsibility for their failures to get on the ballot and steadfastly refuse any aid from Big Govmint to help them achieve what they proved incapable of doing by themselves.

      Let ’em pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  

    • If this article is satire, it failed.

      If it’s serious, it’s a joke.