Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sore Loser Law?

From the Danbury News Times:

DANBURY -- One week after the election, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz repeated her call for a "sore loser law" that would essentially prevent a politician that loses a primary from being on the ballot again in the general election.

Just before speaking to students at Western Connecticut State University today, Bysiewicz said it would be part of her legislative package in 2007.

If such a law had it been in effect this year, it would have stopped U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman from running as an independent after he lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont.

This proposal would not affect write-in candidates, Bysiewicz said, such as Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura, who was re-elected as a write-in candidate in 2005 after first losing the Democratic primary.

Putting aside Lamont and Lieberman for a moment is this law a good idea? I'm inclined to say that it is. Some would argue that unaffiliated voters don't get to vote in primaries, but if it's that important they could always sign up with one. When you choose to register as an unaffiliated voter you're also choosing not to participate in a primary for any party.

What do you think?

Hat Tip to G-BuryMan for pointing out the article in the comments section.

Lucas, Fred. "Bysiewicz wants a 'sore loser law'". Danbury News Times. 11/14/06


Bobby McGee said...

I agree. This isn't preventing candidates from running as independents, but merely preventing them from seeking a party nomination first.

The Architect said...

Looks like Bysiewicz is the sore loser here.

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead we should do what a lot of states do -- allow unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries without having to reregister...it could increase overall turnout, interest unaffiliated voters more in the process and parties and ensure that more mainstream candidates are elected at the primary level. Parties would still have a place -- that is endorsing candidates for office.

Anonymous said...

Looks to me Suzy Q is trying to appeal to the D base that ousted Lieberman...for yet another try for Gov. This is a bad law, it goes agianst the very meaning of majority vote....Lieberman still won the General election which means a majority of people want him to represent them in DC...this is a political Game, nothing more

cgg said...

I'd be fine with open primaries, so long as a sore loser law was also in place.

Anonymous said...

We can never ever allow the government to control who has access to OUR ballot. A sore loser law is contrary to everything we hold dear as Americans.

CT Bob said...

Open primaries are good, but just make the filing date for an independent run well BEFORE the primary date.

That way, Holy Joe would have had to choose whether to continue his run for the Democratic nod, or quit and devote his time to an indie run.

Simply force the issue with a filing deadline.

Oh yeah, we all know how Joe feels about deadlines...

Jim said...

Unless there are open primaries, I think it's absurd. Lieberman is exactly the reason there should be the option of running as an independent. Joe Lieberman was the candidate most people wanted in the Senate, and he ultimately won. Any law that prevents him from getting on the ballot is undemocratic and likely unconstitutional.

Chris MC said...

Here are all the comments so far from the News Time's website on the referenced story:

Reader Comments
this story has 11 comments.
This site does not necessarily agree with comments posted below — responsibility lies with the reader posting the comment.
Posted by: mml619 Tue, Nov 14 2006
Obviously people wanted Joe in office or he wouldnt have won! WHo cares how he got there!

Posted by: steveg35x Tue, Nov 14 2006
"democrates"? Was that the ancient Greek politician??? (Sorry, I just couldn't resist!) How about a "no defacing the sore loser's campaign signs" law like the one I just saw at the corner of Segar St. & Lake Avenue...someone put an orange piece of paper over part of the Ned Lamont sign that reads "Loser ha-ha".

Speaking of those signs I'd like to see the candidates AND their supporters be responsible for REMOVING ALL OF THEM. Where's THAT LAW, huh?

Posted by: MR. BIG Tue, Nov 14 2006
Bysciecwicz lost my vote in this past election because of this ridiculous proposal. The Secretary of State should advocate for more democracy, not less. Let's all remember this when she begins her campaign for governor which I suspect will be momentarily.

Posted by: jennio Tue, Nov 14 2006
Wasn't she elected by democrates?
Afraid its the first of many "stupid" laws the parties will try to get through......Both parties try to get crap laws passsed and We the people suffer!

write your congressmen and tell them NOT to support this law.

I agree that we should get rid of both parties and the LOBBYISTs who line their pockets!

Posted by: voiceofreason Tue, Nov 14 2006
This is stupid. If this law were in effect this election, the majority of voters would have been disenfranchised.

Where do we get these people that are supposed to serve us? Their incompetence is unbearable.

Posted by: NFtaxpayer Tue, Nov 14 2006
I also hope this one doesn't get thru...it contradicts the democratic system and restricts the people from selecting the person they want.

Posted by: LONDONCALLING Tue, Nov 14 2006
I hope she doesn't get this one through,it would only serve to further restrict our choices. This election has worked out the way it was supposed to , The democrats & republicans put up who they wanted to see go to Washington and the rest of us sent who we wanted.

Posted by: batman Tue, Nov 14 2006
But without parties to tell us what our views are, what will we do? How will we know what we want?

Posted by: J_Whizzle Tue, Nov 14 2006
Let's get rid off all the parties. Hearing Dem's and Republicans bicker gets old and childish. Time for people to stop conforming to a party's views... while making up conspiracy theories about the other party.

I'm not the biggest Joe fan, but good for him!

Posted by: batman Tue, Nov 14 2006
Two party system??

What about the Green Party!!!

Posted by: bobfromct Tue, Nov 14 2006
You have got to be kidding? It is bad enough that we only have a two-party system and anyone of average means is shut out completely already. If someone wants to run and gets the required signatures or whatever, let them run and let the voters decide. Bysiewicz must have supported Lamont. Talk about sore losers!!!!!

What we need in politics is more independents that are not tied to one philosophy and can vote issue by issue instead of voting the party line.

Mebbe they're all Lieberman staffers.

I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

This idea is stupid, no "sore loser" law needed.

The idea of it is rediculous.

cgg said...

Lieberman could have chosen not to seek the Democratic nomination. It's not like he didn't have options.

Dave Mooney said...

it goes agianst the very meaning of majority vote

No it doesn't. Byseiwicz's proposal would suggest that a candidate planning to disregard a primary outcome should be up front about it, drop out of the primary and file petitions.

Dave Mooney said...

I believe the loophole that allowed Lieberman to take two bites of the apple was created when the primary date was moved from September to August while the petitioning deadline was left alone. This loophole should be closed and the petitioning deadline should be moved to July. Primary voters should at least know that a primary candidate intends to disregard the primary outcome.

Anonymous said...

Why should they have to....

Wolcottboy said...

What's the problem that this solves?

That the Democrats don't get a liberal Democrat ultimately elected? Or arguably, the Republicans don't get a candidate that's conservative or "Republican" enough to get elected? And what benefit does that do to doing the job of X Office that they're being elected to?

There's absolutely no correleation, except to build a party, a paltry Un-American objective in the long term course of administrating public service.

Anonymous said...

This is where the hypocrisy of the liberal do-gooders is revealed. They are all for more open, direct democratic forms...until their guy loses.

The sore loser law is certainly not unconstitutional, it's certainly less democratic than not (which is different than "undemocratic") and certainly is a tribute to the shallowness of the liberal commitment to liberal forms.

Don Pesci said...

The US and state constitutions set the limits for most political offices. Presumably the "sore loser law" would apply to executive offices as well. In that case, wouldn't we have to alter the constitutions to accommodate the proposed new law, since it would impose restrictions beyond those mentioned in the documents? It's never a good idea to rid a dog of a flea by shooting the flea with a shotgun. Lieberman won. Get over it. Election to office should be decided by the whole electorate, and the choice cannot be free if the voter is told he may not vote for candidates not nominated by parties.

cgg said...

Under the proposed law Lieberman could have still run as a write-in candidate.

My problem isn't that he ran as an Independent. Lieberman wanted it both ways. He didn't respect the results of the primary. Actually I think refusing to rule out an Independent run is part of why he lost it.

TrueBlueCT said...

Look, a more likely scenario in the future is that Dem Loser "B" gets signatures to run against Dem Winner "A" and Republican nominee "Z".

"B" and "A" split the left, and the Republican wins. Just not fair.

Or, imagine a right-wing zealot had primaried Rell, lost, then followed Lieberman's lead and gathered signatures for a second chance. In the subsequent three-way race, DeStefano wins!

Honestly, we have a two-party system, and losers ought not to be able to skew elections. Plus there is always the option for a candidate to opt out of the Primaries, a la Weicker, and run as a true Independent.

If Lieberman wanted to run on his own line in the general, he shouldn't have been able to mess around in the Dem primary. This is the wrong that needs to be remedied.

TrueBlueCT said...

P.S. I suspect Jim Amann will help to pass this law, as the left-wing bloggers are threatening him with a challenge next cycle. Jim might not be vulnerable to a primary, but in a 3-way race he could be up sh*t creek. Imagine a well-known Republican running from the Right, and a sweet young thing running on a pro-civil union, anti-bully platform.

AB said...

Stupid....and to True Blue's comment that we have a two party system...yes thats true.....but only becuase we have no viable third party. To create a law to prevent someone from losing in the primary and forming a party to run agaain is absurd and a violation of verything the constitution stands for. Another liberal hypocrite.......rights are for everyone as long as they suit your needs huh?

CTObserver said...

This is so completely contrary to the open primary system. Should we also outlaw cross-endorsements? What if you're a sore loser for one party but not the other? Should we just have every primary candidate create his/her own party, just in case? We finally got a reasonable way to petition onto the general election ballot, now we're going to start excluding people for all future ballots because we don't like Lieberman?

TrueBlueCT said...

Great Aaron--

I guess there are a lot of stupid people out there, as most states have sore loser laws on the books.

The only sane alternative would be a Louisiana like system, where the general election is a free-for-all open to everybody, but where an automatic run-off kicks in when no one gets a majority of the votes. (which is happening now to decide the fate of that scumbag Jefferson.)

P.S. I argued from a bi-partisan perspective. Nothing hypocritical about it, and your attempt to squash debate via name-calling is worthy of LGF and not CTLP.

cgg said...

Cross endorsements are fine. If Lieberman had for example sought both the Democratic and Green nominations for example. That's not the same thing as losing your primary and then creating a new party entirely.

Anonymous said...

No one should be able to game the system as Lieberman did. If you want to run as an Independent, run as an Independent. But no sham political parties, and no do-overs, please.

The Architect said...

If the Democrats didn't want Lieberman to run in their primary, they shouldn't have given him 15% of their votes at their convention.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

>>Maybe instead we should do what a lot of states do -- allow unaffiliated voters to vote in primaries without having to reregister

The CT GOP did exactly that in 1983; the Dems fought it the GOP won and in 1986 unnaffiliateds were allowed to vote in statewide Republican primaries.

We reversed the party rule in 1990 (might have been 92) as it was thought to be a lousy idea in the 1st place even by those of us that voted for it in 1983.

Fuzzy Turtle said...

as much as I dislike Lieberman.. no this is a bad idea. There SHOULD be more stringent controls on campaign contributions in this scenario.. but I'm all for clean election laws, so WTF to I know :) That'll never happen in the fine Nutmeg state.

Anonymous said...

Suzie Q. Is an idiot. I can't wait until she runs for Governor. She'll get buried. She represents the shallow left.

Anonymous said...

Such a law will never pass constitutional muster and I would file a brief to stop it. Also, unaffilited voters should not be allowed to vote in party primaries. They either participate by joining a party like normal mainstream people or get out of the way or temporarily join a party.

We like minded people should get together to stop the madness.

Let us dust off Fomer Governor Weicker. I bet he would be on our side with something like this.

The Phantom has spoken.

Shadow said...

This is a wonderful law being proposed.

If a candidate makes the choice to submit themselves to a decision by primary voters, he or she should abide by that decision. If you don't believe that, you also believe primary winners are meaningless and we should all get rid of primaries. Or you're a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading the posts of those who feel a need to defend Sue B. out of a sense of loyalty. Don't kiss ass. If you agree fine. If you don't agree with her and she is your friend just do not post and shut up.

I can read through the bullshit. OK?

Grumpy said...

I am a lifelong Democrat who voted for Lamont after a lot of consideration. (I've known and worked with Joe for some time.) Nonetheless, I find this "sore looser" proposal offensive.

I've always been angered by statements that we have a "two party system." After all, any student of the history of our nation's founding (which should describe each of us by the way) knows that the founding fathers generally hoped to avoid the consolidation of political power in the hands of a limited set of political "factions." One of the great collective failures of our nation's political history is the failure to stop the rise of a two-party political system.

But that is mostly an academic debate. After all, the practical reality is that we do have a system where the two major parties have a strangle-hold on the political process, access to the ballot, and are effectively able to block third parties and unaffiliated citizens from winning office and weilding political power. That being the case, a "sore looser law" would serve to further restrict the ability of citizens to be elected to political office without doing so within the "confines" of one of the two major political party structures.

Or look at it this way; the primary is nothing more than an election conducted for the sole purpose of allowing members of a political party to select their candidate for a particular office in a general election. What is so offensive about a citizen who fails to win a party's nomination, going forward and running on his or her own in the general? It's not a "second bite at the apple." It's simply a citizen choosing to fully exercise their right to participate in the democratic process.

I find it ironic then, that it's my fellow Democrats who are proposing the anti-democratic sore looser law.

Jim said...

Well as long as we're limiting democracy, why did Ned Lamont and John DeStefano contest the results of the convention? Weren't Lieberman and Malloy the choice of the Connecticut Democrats?

ProgCT said...

If this had been in place Joe would have just not run for the Democratic nomination...

That said I strongly support such a law.

Anonymous said...

"No one should be able to game the system as Lieberman did"

Game the system? You guys crack me up!

There are more unaffiliated voters then Democrats in CT so why should OUR CHOICES be limited by a minority voting block in CT?

Even running as an Indy Democrat Joe crushed his two challengers, the states voters have spoken... please get over it!

"I find it ironic then, that it's my fellow Democrats who are proposing the anti-democratic sore looser law."

I'm not surprised at all if you have been closely following events the last 20 years.

Noticed what party trotted out the "If we don't win the vote machines must be rigged!" meme before the election?

Not a follow up peep in the media after things went thier way eh?

Anonymous said...

TBC : RE: Amaan

If he lost a Dem primary and ran indy the CT GOP would just make sure the R opponent pulled a Schlesinger in exchange for future considerations when he returned as Speaker

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:43

“…unaffilited voters should not be allowed to vote in party primaries… Let us dust off Fomer Governor Weicker. I bet he would be on our side with something like this.”

Not really. Weicker was never a party guy. It was his hand picked Republican Party chairman Tom D’Amore who sought to open Republican Party primaries to unaffiliaded voters. At the time, people thought Weicker was doing this because he had alienated party voters and did not wish to expose himself to the indignity of primary challenges. This year, D'Amore -- and Weicker too -- were working the Lamont campaign. Before there was a Lieberman, there was a Weicker; same kettle of fish

Anonymous said...

There was no "minority voting block" when 70% of Lieberman's vote came from republicans. Republicans can hardly be considered a 'minority' in CT.

Why doesn't Connecticut already have the sore loser law on its books?

Lieberman is responsible for dividing the state's democratic party. We should also focus on returning the state to the democrats. Bounce that republican poor excuse of a governor out on her dottering old granny's ass.

The state needs to self protect. Democrats need to set up some kind of watchdog organization, political committee, i.e., Connecticut Against Lieberman, and keep an eye on him before he sells us down that proverbial river. Today's NYT says he's "miffed"! If no one is minding the store, expect disaster.

Anonymous said...

Inasmuch as we have a republican governor, and we allow republicans to decide the winners of our elections, is CT now considered a red state?

Anonymous said...

"Republicans can hardly be considered a 'minority' in CT."

Wow, where did you go to school?

CT voter breakdown-

21% Republican
33% Democrat
44% Unaffiliated

Define minority please.

"Lieberman is responsible for dividing the state's democratic party."

More knee slapping- Listen to yourself. The *national* party tried to drive a *sitting Democrat senator* out because of his stance on one issue and our voters told them to shove it.

"We should also focus on returning the state to the democrats."


No one party has a monopoly on vice or virtue.

"Bounce that republican poor excuse of a governor out on her dottering old granny's ass."

Tried that, didn't work, the voters have spoken.

Try some critical thinking instead of just spouting garbage.

Shadow said...

It's amazing how short-sighted people can be; why are so many here debating this law soley based on their opinion of a race that is already over?

I'm an independent voter, and was able to switch over temporarily a few days before to vote in the Democratic primary. I was able to make that choice as an independent, without restriction, and I also made the choice in the general to vote for minor party candidates in several other races, and was free to that as well.

The sore loser law would not change any of that. If it did, I wouldn't support it.

Instead of setting up straw men and knocking them down, debate the real issue; most of these posts challenging this law have been either intentionally false arguments or outright ignorance.

Let me tell you, if Lieberman had won the Democratic primary fair and square, and Lamont tried to run again in the same year as an independent, I would still be pushing for this law. And I have no loyalty to Susan Bysiewicz, nor did I vote for her, nor was she ever considered a Lamont supporter; in fact, if anything she was looked at suspiciously by Lamont supporters for having ties to Lieberman. Bysiewicz is certainly not going to win the Governor's race with this move; this is simply just the right thing to do, and all the states who have a sore loser law would seem to agree (that's in case anyone else wants to embarass themselves further by saying the law could never pass the Constitutional standard, despite the fact that it already has several times).

Joe Lieberman had the Democratic establishment behind him to start with, and when he was defeated in the primary, the Republican establishment added their support; Lieberman is the only candidate in history to get this kind of support from BOTH major party establishments in the same election year, and he clearly needed them both to win. The fact that a law which would prevent that kind of two party entrenchment is being spun as some sort of attack on independent voters is insulting to the intelligence, and insulting to me as an independent voter.

I'll say it again, if anyone has the guts to argue the real point here: if losing a primary is meaningless, then primaries are meaningless. So either you believe in the sore loser law, you believe primaries should be abolished, or you're a hypocrite so wound up in rerunning the last race that you can't see two feet in front of you.

Anonymous said...

Why should the 7.9% of this states registered voters who voted for Ned dictate who is the Democrat candidate?

Democrats are CLEARLY not the majority voting block in this state.

Want to make it fair? Throw open the primaries to unaffiliated voters.

Never happen, the DNC would loath to place any power back in the hands of the general public.

Anonymous said...

Such a law will never pass constitutional muster and I would file a brief to stop it.

And you would lose. The SCOTUS has upheld sore loser laws in no uncertain terms.

Anonymous said...

12:16 PM. The Supreme Court upheld slavery at one point also and guess what? I do not care if the Court upheld the sore loser law in the past. It is wrong. I did not support Lieberman but this is a matter of liberty. I will fight it.

Anonymous said...

Shadow I want to be very clear. I do believe primaries are important. Yet, I do not see the need to protect them with the Sore Loser law. Those who lose should do the classy thing and accept the outcome of a primary loss. It does not sit well with me that now some feel a need to legislate this. It is a sad commentary if many feel that is what the election process has come to.
Let me repeat I will fight this

Shadow said...

So your solution is to trust politicians to be classy?

Anonymous said...

Grumpy this "I will Fight it" I just read your comments and I could not have said it better myself. Primaries are for the politcal party more than for the candidate.

It is against liberty to stop an individual from running as an independent.

There are many politicos on here who want to protect their interests. You will not find many politicos like myself who will defend liberty at all costs.


Anonymous said...

Shadow listen Grumpy is right. Did
you read Grumpy's post???

It is brilliant!! It is what I am trying to say!

Shadow said...

> It is against liberty to stop an individual from running as an independent.

I agree. But it is not against liberty for a candidate to CHOOSE running in a party primary over running as an independent.

Elections in a democracy are by definition conceding to the will of an electorate to which you submit yourself for consideration. If this were not the case, elections would have no meaning. You expect the Supreme Court to strike down THAT BASIC a principle of our democracy, and in the name of the Constitution no less? Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Shadow in CT we have closed primaries open to only party members as you well know. My point of view fits into that perfectly.

You may have a point (maybe) with open primaries because why would you run as an independent in the general if you lose a party primary
where everyone can vote.

"I will fight this"

Know what I mean?

I wonder if those states that have
the sore loser law are those states
that primarily that have open primaries.

Shadow said...

> Shadow in CT we have closed primaries open to only party members as you well
> know. My point of view fits into that perfectly.

Well, except for the fact that I, as a lifelong unaffiliated voter, was able to legally, quickly, and easily change my affiliation to Democrat five days before the primary, and it's just as simple to switch back to an independent again. So the primary was only "closed" to me if I was too dumb to find the doorknob.

The only people that can't switch over a few days before a primary are members of the other major party, and that is to prevent Democrats screwing around in Republican primaries, and vice versa; a good idea. The kind of primaries you're suggesting would only serve to break down that barrier, and it has absolutely nothing to do with unaffiliated voters like myself, just Republicans and Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Shadow all the same I will fight this. You cannot stop an individual from running for office. Poilitcal Parties can stop you by not nominating you but as an individual you have the right to run. Parties can make their own rules which I fully agree with. But as a citizen if you have the signatures you have the right to run which is completely outside the realm of political party rules.

You cannot force someone to have class. Either you have it or you do not. You have class if you accept a primary loss. As an American Citizen you can run for office. The parties cannot infringe on an independent bid no matter if you run under a party banner for the same seat before hand.

I believe the Sore Loser law is and should be unconstitutional. I will be pleased to say this if asked when I run for office in CT as a Democrat.

I do believe you are not a Susan B hack. But I can assure your some of the posters here are.

You are OK with me Shadow. I concede you are a strong defender of your point of view. I hope you grant me the same courtesy.

The Phantom

Shadow said...

I do. I believe your motivations are genuine, and I commend you for your diligence. Debates like ours are necessary in order to preserve the future of our democracy; I'm sure many people here who were undecided on the issue (and even some that were decided) ending up being swayed one way or the other based on the spirited debate we had here.

> But as a citizen if you have the signatures you have the right to run which is
> completely outside the realm of political party rules.

I agree. And since an individual's right to run is completely outside the realm of political party rules, by definition that's saying that the two are mutually exclusive, and therefore should not overlap (like they did this year in the Senate race). This would actually appear to be a point for my argument. After all, I never objected to breaking the party rules in and of themselves; my objection was about the undemocratic nature of running in any race and then ignoring your loss.

The only places around the world where the results of a race are irrelevant are faux democracies. The real democracies, by definition, only have races where the results matter. It's not just a lack of class issue if future copycat Lieberman performances will threaten our very form of representative government, our credibility as a democracy around the world, and our ability to set an example for other countries who are newer to the democratic process.

On another note, have you read up on all of the Supreme Court rulings that held up the sore loser law? Do you know what the margin of votes was, what legal arguments sealed the deal, and what dissenting opinions (if any) were offered? I haven't read up on it myself, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if some of the justices made the same argument I have made here. It's just too big a point to get around without addressing it.

But in any case, I definitely recommend you look at the Supreme Court precedents, to make sure that the argument you are presenting will actually have a shot, and how best to frame that argument. After all, I may not agree with you on this issue, but I'd still like to see you make the most eloquent and effective challenge possible if you're going to go for this; our pursuit of truth and our system of justice rely on having a strong advocate for each side of a dispute, no matter what the issue.