Thursday, December 2, 2010

Against Challenging The Election

The day after the election MC asked: who lost the governorship? Our analysis still stands, we believe, upon re-reading that post a month and a day later. The question we now face, however, is whether Tom Emmer should challenge in court the election results after the ongoing recount concludes and the almost certain certification by the Secretary of State that Mark Dayton won, that Mark Dayton is, incomprehensively, Minnesota's next governor.

The answer to that question is no, Tom Emmer should not contest in court the outcome of the election for governor. We were appalled that Emmer vanished after the election--some leader!--and appeared a week later to give a defensive, graceless 19 minute press conference without once ever thanking his staff or supporters. Cue Kennedy's comment about Nixon: no class. Where, pray tell, was his running mate Annette! Meeks? She was a no-show at the ersatz press conference. MC can't exactly blame her, can't exactly absolve her absence either. Emmer's supporters insisted he should be the the GOP nominee because Seifert was too establishment. Meeks was formerly Newt Gingrich's chief of staff. We are not certain how much more insider one can get and her selection split Emmer's far right base in the party. The omens were bad coming out of the convention and the campaign's subsequent hapless performance only underscored them.

MC understands perfectly well the campaign's request to the Minnesota Supreme Court to engage in reconciliation before the state canvassing board met. This claim would have been time barred after the board met. We don't believe, having said that, that its argument was particularly persuasive or well grounded. Contrary to many of our friends' protestations, the Minnesota Supreme Court got the decision exactly right. We can't judge its analysis because it has not yet issued its opinion in the matter. We do believe, however, that its considered opinion is likely to intentionally close off any arguments based upon its decision in a subsequent election challenge. One apple. One bite.

Currently the recount proceeds apace with the occassional flared nostril of a volunteer or election official providing the only passing drama. We pity our friends in the media who have to cover this as though it were the Coleman/Franken recount, which most assuredly it is not. The observations on Twitter about the recount are worth their weight in, um, ballots or something.

Which brings us to our present position: all known facts indicate that Dayton has an insurmountable lead that cannot be overcome either through the recount process or a challenge in court. There is no path, despite being given such assurances.

We have read in news reports of our friend Tony Sutton, chair of the RPM, saying that reconciliation and the vouching issue could provide a basis for a court challenge after the inevitable certification in Dayton's favor. MC doesn't see it. To be sure, anything could be ginned up as grounds to justify an election challenge in court, the effect of which is to leave the current, what's his name, governor in place. The salient point is that with such an enormous lead (these things being relative) the average Minnesota voter will be repulsed, and rightly so, with actions that smack of gaming the system, of bad faith, as politics not really as usual in squeaky clean Minnesota. MC is sorry Senator Coleman had such abject, lousy lawyers last time out but getting a better one from DC this time won't do the trick. The dog barks, the caravan moves on and all that.

MC must, however, admit that it is not privy to all of the facts and circumstances that the party and Emmer have at hand. We don't mean to suggest that a court challenge should be foregone if there are, in fact, real and credible issues that warrant such. Having paid excrutiatingly close attention for the last month, though, we'd be hard pressed to name any. Hence our concern that actually contesting in court the governor's election would look to be nothing more than an obvious attempt to keep a republican governor in office while a republican legislature proffered up for the former's signature legislation that Dayton most likely would not sign.

MC stands for Minnesota Conservatives and as conservatives we don't believe voters are stupid. Our fear is that their disgust will be taken out on republican candidates--especially in the senate--in 2012. That's the self-interested take. But there is also the idea that we as republicans and conservatives stand for something, opportunism not being one of them. We hear endless trashing of Dayton. We get it. We also offered up to voters such a flawed candidate that he could not beat Dayton. A little humility is in order from the crowd that got Emmer the endorsement. His performance with the press recently not only leaves much to be desired but reveals the candidate for himself. We're not sure there ever was a mask but if so, it has slipped and the man behind it is unappealing.

We're surprised we're surprised.


Anonymous said...

I was all set to disagree with you strongly, based on the notion that the egregious manner in which this election was stolen by Mark Ritchie, with multiple [okay, /alleged/] offenses both criminal and ethical, ought to be aired in court. But I do see your point on alienating the voters. Just like our "best of the worst" public schools, Minnesotans fervently wish to believe that their public officials are mostly honest and that their elections are squeaky clean. You don't necessarily want to strike at that perception unless you are confident of slaying the dragon it protects.

I have in my own mind a bill of particulars that, by rights, would have Mark Ritchie out on the street, at least. Perhaps that is the eye of the needle any court contest should pursue-- charge the bank robber, not the banking system.

J. Ewing

dipper said...

MC, you're a lonely, dissonant voice on the right side of the political spectrum. But you still draw your argument from the righteous right set of assumptions. Consider an alternative analysis, drawn with similar earnestness from the same set of facts.

Emmer has no incentive to concede. Stalling the recount, in the lame hope of keeping Mark Dayton out of office long enough to ram through a redistricting map that keeps Republicans in power for 10 years, is only half the GOP plan. The more certain, more malignant part of the Republican scheme is to damage the Minnesota election process as much as possible. 

The garbage that pours out, whenever Tony and Tony open their slanderous mouths, is intended to damage the reputation of every election official in the State, to instill fear and doubt about the electoral process, and to give cynical and rapacious bloggers, letter writers and Republican activists the ability to scream voter fraud and corrupt and stolen elections at every opportunity. 

Republicans hate the idea of voter turnout, and will stop at nothing to keep voters away from the polls. The current GOP nonsense has a very clear long-term purpose, to poison Minnesota elections in as many minds as possible and to win future elections by discouraging and denying, to as many as possible, the Constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

Anonymous said...

@ dipper

You say he has no reason to concede but how about showing some intellect when it's clear there's no way to make up the votes? Don't look ridiculous and just respectfully give up and let's move on. With Coleman a recount was close and made sense, this? .5% is still a lot and as we've seen the math doesn't make sense. We're only losing respect by dragging out something just to drag it out.

Anonymous said...

Is there not great honor and public service in exposing how our chief election official has completely corrupted what would otherwise be a fair and honest process? How can you NOT challenge a result arrived at through such total corruption? OK, you can call it malfeasance or misfeasance, stupidity or hyperpartisanship, but the result is exactly the same, and ought to be set aside until a truly honest and fair election can be conducted.

Reconciliation can be conducted after the recount, and perhaps more fairly. The votes of felons, illegal immigrants, non-existent people, dead people and duplicates will be harder to remove from the total, but EASILY exceed .5%.

J. Ewing

MikeWBL said...

MC is once again "spot on" in this assessment. Another court challenge only delays the inevitable at best. At worst, it makes us look like whiny "adapted children" and sore losers to the voting public.

The election fraud of vouching, reconciliation, photo ID can best be handled by the MN Legislature in the 2011 Session.

Speaking of whiny "adapted children, the State Central Committee narrowly approved a motion that goes after old men who supported Horner. It is an embarrassment to our party.

An adult would recognize that these former Governors, former Senator, etc. are “has beens” who are not involved in the Republican Party in any way shape or form. Additionally, KSTP sponsored a postelection survey which indicated more Horner voters actually came from DFL voters who did not want to vote for Dayton. The KSTP postelection survey indicated Dayton would have won by a larger majority without Horner. Therefore, this motion was a childish motion by sore losers who could not put a mirror up in front of them and simply recognize that we endorsed the wrong candidate at our 2010 state convention.

Shame on these 59 children!

Anonymous said...

Who is this "we" who endorsed the "wrong candidate"? Against Dayton, "we" should have been able to elect extremist Barry Goldwater, and he's dead! You are correct that it's a little silly to "expel" from the Republican Party those who already claim to be "former Republicans" (like Tom Horner). But it also doesn't make sense, to me, that we just close the barn door after the horse has been stolen. The Democrats get away with this crap because nobody stands up to them and makes them pay a price for it. Maybe OUR guy didn't win, but we ought to at least make darn certain that he wasn't cheated. THEN if we want to fix the rules of the game so the game can't be fixed, I'm all for it.

J. Ewing

MikeWBL said...

"We" refers to the GOP.

The small, but very well organized, minority chose to support a candidate (Emmer) that polls, at the time, indicated would lose to Dayton. This small, but well organized minority chose to ignore the same polls that indicated Seifert was the only candidate to beat Dayton or Kelliher.

“We” are the only ones to blame and “We” need to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see that MN is a 55% DFL and 45% Republican state.

Anonymous said...

That minority was a majority of the State Convention delegates elected to represent the thousands of caucus attendees that represent the activist core of the Party. Arguing that they are a minority simply argues that any opposition-- for the sake of argument we'll call them moderates-- are disorganized and disinterested, which is hardly a recommendation for having them select the candidate. If grass roots support is important, then the current candidate selection process does a great job of that. Coupled with a primary, it's practically infallible, as witness how Dayton became the candidate. Emmer could have beaten Kelliher easily.

I'm still waiting to know who is going to challenge the many violations of election law that took place on Ritchie's watch.

J. Ewing