Interesting Electoral Doings in Northern New York
What I find interesting is not the question of who is going to represent the district but of what the effect will be on Republican politics. The left wing of the Republican party will surely use it to argue that conservatives, by refusing to support centrist candidates, are destroying the party—and it seems like a reasonable argument.
But politics is not entirely about reasonable arguments. The candidate of one party is not supposed to throw her support to the candidate of the other, however much she prefers his policies to those of his opponent. Seen in a certain light, doing so makes her a traitor—not to the nation but to the party, although party loyalists may not draw such fine distinctions. I conjecture that the Republican right will try to use the incident to portray the Republican left as untrustworthy villains not deserving of a voice in party affairs.
Two further points occur to me. The first is that Scozzafava, by withdrawing from the race, may actually have helped, not hurt, Hoffman, since in a three way election the two of them would have split the Republican vote. The second is to wonder what the effects would have been, again on intraparty politics, if Hoffman had won. Conservatives could have offered it as evidence that they are the real strength of the Republican party—although not very good evidence, given that the 23rd is apparently an unusually conservative district. On the other hand, treachery that fails has less of a bite, rhetorically speaking, than treachery that succeeds, so that half of their argument might actually have been weakened by victory.
Heinlein, somewhere in Double Star, one of his better if less well known novels, has a character comment that politics is ugly in a variety of (named) ways—but it's the only game worth playing for grown ups. I can see his point.
Labels: politics Republican conservative