There have been quite a few stories about faux tea party candidates being financed by Democrats to try to hurt Republican vote this fall:
Tea Party activists in New Jersey, Michigan, California, Florida and other states are suddenly seeing registered “Tea Party” independent candidates appear on the ballot and they don’t know these candidates. As they dig into the information available on public records (donations, nominating signatures, etc.) they are finding Democrat ties to these fake Tea Party candidates. Aside from challenges over just who can use the label Tea Party on the ballot, there appears little that can be done legally to stop these fake candidates.
Hearing about these things it brought to mind page 107 of Tip O’Neill’s autobiography and the story of his first race for congress:
Given the way politics worked in those days, I guess it was inevitable that the race soon developed into an ethnic battle between the Italians and the Irish. The district was approximately 40 % Irish and 35% Italian, with the rest made up of many different groups
So what do you do when the chips are down. Well in 1952 this is what you did:
Leo Diehl, my lifelong friend from the state house , took an active role in the campaign, and to help divide the Italian vote he brought in a candidate named Chris Carolina, who ran as a favor to us. LoPresti’s people had already pulled the same stunt on me with a fellow named Casey.
But Casey wasn’t Tip’s biggest problem, it was another unknown with an interesting name:
“See that fellow over there?” He (Paul Feeney) said, pointing to a stranger on the other side of Beacon Street. “Believe it or not, his name is John F. Kennedy, and he’s one of the guys running against you . Nobody knows him, but with a name like that he could cause you a lot of problems. Let’s go over and say hello.”
Somehow Feeney managed to talk Kennedy into withdrawing then and there and even had a withdrawal slip handy for him to sign. Tip had this to say:
I realized later that if Paul Feeney hadn’t pushed John Kennedy to get out, I would have lost the election. By 1952 after Jack Kennedy had served three terms in the House, the Kennedy name was so strong in our district that John Kennedy–who was not, of course, a “real” Kennedy—would have siphoned off many of the votes.
Remember both Tip & LoPresti were democrats and just a few years ago the only reason why Democrats were not exposed for fixing a delegation election in 1948 O’Neill dropping his plans to go to the Ballot Law Commission after was Paul Dever warned him:
“The party is already in bad shape. If we show people we’re a bunch of thieves, it will destroy us. In the name of party unity, please drop this fight.”(p55)
So this is a bit of democratic history. Not illegal (like the stolen ’48 delegate election) but a tactic that has been in the playbook for years. There are two choices as to what to do. Dean Chambers has one:
What can and should be done in every instance of the fakers, is for the Real Tea Party groups to out them as the fakes they are and inform their supporters to NOT be fooled by the imposters. And in addition to and while doing that, they should educate the public on the trickery Democrats are willing to use to FOOL the public into electing their candidates again. It’s more than time for the public to learn their lesson. Knowing this, are you still going to vote for the Democrats again?
This is certainly an option, daylight is the best disinfectant and in an internet age it is not possible to hide such things, but said daylight will not stop such a candidate from getting votes that would go Republican.
The other option of course is the Turnabout is fair play game, we can help get signatures for Green party candidates to take votes away from democrats. They will scream bloody murder but when the screaming is done it will still mean votes that would go to democrats
All perfectly legal. Using the same tactics as your foes is very Jacksonian. If they want a dirty fight, lets give them one, dirty but legal.