In my state, the great Commonwealth of Virginia, there are only two Republican candidates for President on the ballot. They are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Apparently, while I was on vacation in the past two weeks (or while I was getting ready for it), Rick Perry and Newt Gringrich did not like that and have decided to sue. Normally, this would not have been a big deal, since last time Virginia’s primary happened one week after Super Tuesday, but this year it apparently happens on Super Tuesday (March 6th) and so it is a huge deal.
The state of Virginia requires 10,000 signatures from registered Virginia voters where 400 of those signatures have to be from all of Virginia’s Congressional districts. While those requirements are hefty, and probably do discourage third parties, they also ensure that only people who receive massive support from the general populace are given a chance versus the much more unpopular, but at least equally hyped, candidates. There is no opportunity for a write-in on the primary in Virginia.
What gets interesting in all of this is the face that this is the first time it has happened, because it appears to be the first time it has been enforced:
The only reason the Virginia Republican Party checked the signatures for validity for the current primary is that in October 2011, an independent candidate for the legislature, Michael Osborne, sued the Virginia Republican Party because it did not check petitions for its own members, when they submitted primary petitions. Osborne had no trouble getting the needed 125 valid signatures for his own independent candidacy, but he charged that his Republican opponent’s primary petition had never been checked, and that if it had been, that opponent would not have qualified. The lawsuit, Osborne v Boyles, cl 11-520-00, was filed in Bristol County Circuit Court. It was filed too late to be heard before the election, but is still pending. The effect of the lawsuit was to persuade the Republican Party to start checking petitions. If the Republican Party had not changed that policy, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would be on the 2012 ballot.
In other words, the state was making sure that you had to be a member of either faction of the Bank Party or suffer severe scrutiny. That is until one person had enough and successfully sued in order to see a much more fair election result. Now the state is forced to verify all petitions in order to ensure fairness.
I take from this whole fiasco a few things:
- That the only viable candidates for the Republican nominee for President are Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. This is because they were the only two candidates who have the widespread support needed. All other candidates do not have the support needed to gain the nomination.
- If Ron Paul managed to qualify in Virginia, as one of only two, that means he can win despite what Mainstream Conservatives and Neoconservatives would have you believe.
- The party machine that established this heavy-handed system in order to make people qualify did so with the idea that people like Ron Paul could be left out. Too bad times are changing….
I find it amusing that so many pundits still rail against Ron Paul as being an unwinnable candidate and that his ideas are fringe ideas. Time after time, when dealing directly with people who would vote Republican and not some elderly Democrat supporter who is home on a weekday, Ron Paul brings in the numbers that legitimize his candidacy. Yet he continues to be ignored, besmirched, or shunned because of his traditional conservative values when it comes to the role of the Federal government.
I still am skeptical as to whether or not Ron Paul will ultimately win the nomination. I have a suspicion that most primary and caucus voters are predominantly old-guard Republican or Mainstream Conservative, neither of whom have any love for Ron Paul because he does not like bombing women and children in foreign nations (or blowing up dogs or throwing puppies off cliffs).
But I have heard that there are more and more young people who adhere to the ideals of Constitutional Conservatism, as Ron Paul does, and they are the future of this nation, unless we are conquered by an outside power within a generation (which is always a possibility no matter how remote it seems).
Even if Ron Paul loses this year and retires from the life of a public “servant”, his ideas will carry on into the future. It seems that liberty and freedom are making a comeback and maybe we will be able to make this nation a shining beacon of hope once again.