St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Missouri ballot skewed to Democrats' liking

Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt had a triple dose of good news for Missouri Democrats this morning:
  • The petition drive to get left-leaning independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot failed to get enough valid signatures. Nader will not compete with Democrat John Kerry for progressive votes in this battleground state.
  • The petition drive to get the Constitution Party and its ultra-conservative presidential candidate Michael Peroutka on the ballot was successful. Peroutka will compete with Republican President George W. Bush for conservative votes here.
  • The Progressive Party, the Kansas City-based affiliate of the Green Party of the United States, also failed to get its five candidates on the Missouri ballot, falling short by just 377 valid signatures.
This leaves Missouri's ballot skewed just the way Democrats like it: two conservative alternatives (Libertarian and Constitution Parties) to Bush and other Republican candidates, combined with no place else to go for principled progressive voters. My guess is we won't be hearing any more Democrat whining about "spoilers" in Missouri this year.

The Missouri Green Party (affiliated with a different national party organization than the Progressive Party) continues to have partial ballot status in Missouri. It filed candidates in six local contests (all in the St. Louis area), only three of which involve both Democratic and Republican contenders.

The good news for establishment Democrats is bad news for principled progressive voters. The absence of more progressive alternatives will allow Democratic candidates to drift further and further to the right, to pander to more conservative voters. When they win with that formula, it will mean more conservative policies from Democrat officeholders. (Remember Democratic President Bill Clinton proudly "ending welfare as we know it?") Big Business will fund Democrat campaigns even more than before, leaving the party beholden to its corporate owners. A Democrat victory this November won't necessarily be a victory for working families.

On the bright side, perhaps this skewed ballot will cause Republican lawmakers to see the value of instant runoff voting (IRV). Democrats will like things just the way they are, but they always have.


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