Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman examines the “road-kill” left behind after Tuesday’s election. Here’s what he has to offer about the Independence Party:
Spoiling to be Spoilers: The Independence Party has begun to give "good government" a bad name. The party called itself "Team Minnesota" but forgot there is no "I" in "team." Peter Hutchinson got an embarrassing 6 percent of the votes in the governor's race, and his statewide total of 141,800 was close to the total received by the LOSING candidate for Hennepin County sheriff, despite the fact many Minnesotans embraced his party's platform. Ol' Hutch can chisel "Finished a Distant Third" on his tombstone, but had no effect on the 2006 election. Except for the spoiler part. The Independence Party is supposed to care about what's best for Minnesota. If so, Hutchinson might have said, "Only one person can win, and it's not me. Please vote for the viable candidate who most favors my platform, Mike Hatch." If just 22,523 Hutchinson voters (16 percent of his total) had voted for Hatch, Hutchinson would be in line for a post in the Hatch administration. Some folks are just too smart for their own good.[emphasis mine]
I've often felt I'm too smart for my own good.
The Coleman solution: The candidate with no chance of winning should graciously step aside and hope to get offered a job in the coming administration? Talk about cynical politics.
To be honest, I don’t care that much about the Independence Party as a political party; and Hutchinson is the only IP candidate who got my vote. But when a serious, thoughtful politician presents himself to the voters, I think we owe that candidate some consideration. And when the Hatch campaign buckled under pressure and ignorance of the issues in the last two weeks, I was happy to have a positive alternative for my vote. It beats holding my nose to vote for the Hatch or Pawlenty. Besides, you need both hands to vote – one to hold the ballot, and one to hold the pen.