ELECTIONS 2014: War Against Status Quo–On Both Sides?

Written by Chuck Gruenwald on October 18, 2014

With just under one month until Election Day 2014, many candidates are running two races: the first one is against “the other guy,” while the second race is to keep traditional party voters from voting third-party, or not voting at all. While Democrats usually have no reason to fear losing votes from their supporters, this year is different.

The unconditional loyalty that Democrat politicians and voters have pledged to their party is now at a crossroad. For Democrats to maintain their business-as-usual mentality, Democrat politicians must maintain their political allegiance with a Democrat President whose economic policies are hurting their voters. As for Democrat voters who are the victims of Democrat policies, especially during the last six years, their “only” choices are to vote along Democrat party lines, or not vote.

The reason why many Democrat voters believe that a Democrat vote, or none at all, are their only options, is because of the effective manner in which Democrats have succeeded in labeling Republicans as racists who want to starve children and the elderly, as well as oppress everyone who falls outside of a vaguely-defined class that is referred to as “the rich.” Of course, Republican politicians and strategists have helped by not countering these claims at best, and claiming that they are correct at worst.

For Democrat candidates, their dilemma is very visible.

This dilemma is preventing Democrat candidates from openly admitting that they have voted for Barack Obama. There is one big reason why Democrat candidates cannot say “I voted for Barack Obama,” and that is because those words have to be followed by four words that most politicians and candidates for public office refuse to say: “I made a mistake.”

And just like their counterparts on the left, Republicans must choose between voting for their party, voting for another party, or avoiding the voting booth altogether.

Sadly, the GOP has no platform, except for trying to scare its mostly-ignored base into keeping Democrats out of office. On second thought, the Republican Party does have a platform, but openly stating “we hope that the Democrats nominate weak candidates, so we have a better chance,” isn’t something to be proud of. However, this platform/tactic seems to working in Kentucky this year.

Here in Illinois we have one Senate seat and the governor’s office at stake.

Republican Jim Oberweis is running against Democrat incumbent Dick Durbin. As if running against one of the most despised members of the U.S. Senate in a state that leans to the left doesn’t create a scenario that is interesting enough, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk – a Republican – is endorsing Durbin.

Mark Kirk is a Republican who is disliked by conservatives due to his habit of aligning himself with Democrats, but he is supported by the GOP. As if this weren’t enough of a setback, the GOP is also refusing to help Oberweis.

If the GOP is looking for an example as to why conservatives feel alienated, Mark Kirk is one. Kirk’s two advantages in the 2010 Illinois Senate race are that he ran against an unexperienced – even by Democrat standards – Democrat challenger, and the Republican elite used the tired “if you have seventy-five percent in common with a candidate….” excuse to defend him.

As for the “seventy-five percent” excuse, the Republican candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner could use it to attract Democrat voters.

In the race for governor, Libertarian candidate Chad Grimm is facing Republican Bruce Rauner, and incumbent Pat Quinn.

The Republican Party tried to have Grimm removed from the ballot in an attempt to steer more “wayward voters” toward Rauner. This maneuver is similar to the GOP’s unsuccessful lawsuit to purge the “none of the above” option from ballots in Nevada. If only the Republican elite knew that not voting is a more favorable option to conservatives than to vote for a candidate who opposes the values of conservatives.

Pat Quinn has been called “the most incompetent governor” in the Union. Somehow, Quinn has a chance to win re-election. If this happens, it will not be the fault of voters who chose to stay home, or voters who voted for Grimm or a write-in candidate, it will happen as a result of voters who equate Quinn and Rauner with everything that is wrong with politics.

If either Quinn or Rauner wins this election, I believe that the winner will have won with support of under fifty percent of the voters.

Eventually, Republican leaders have to admit that there is a reason why support for the GOP is eroding. Instead of blaming non-voters or votes cast for third-party candidates for GOP losses, or claiming that a third-party vote is a wasted vote, there has to be the realization that a Republican vote is a wasted vote if Republican candidates support the business-as-usual philosophy that presently dictates the operation of government.

As for Republican and Democrat voters, they have to admit that business-as-usual candidates will implement business-as-usual policies. Perhaps voters are afraid of change. Perhaps there is now comfort in our downward spiral for career party voters.

There is no secret that if enough voters leave one or both of the two parties, that third-party candidates will win elections; the mob mentality that keeps many voters locked into their voting habits are preventing candidates who could do what establishment candidates won’t, from being given a chance.

Fear of the unknown and fear of change are two characteristics which are supposed to act as defense mechanisms. And just like government – or political parties, these two characteristics inhibit growth and knowledge if allowed to grow beyond their intended roles. And for career party voters, these fears protect a broken system.

Both parties need to fear losing voters. And when both parties nominate candidates who are open regarding their contempt for their current or future constituents, then it is time for that fear to become reality.

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Born in Chicago and raised in northwest suburban Cook County, Chuck Gruenwald developed an unfavorable opinion of machine politics quite early in life. In addition to cars, electronics, law enforcement, and politics, Chuck enjoys writing, and is also a horse racing fan. He has recently written op-eds for uncommonshow.com