From this week’s Cuccinelli Compass…
To get on the ballot, a presidential candidate has to collect 10,000 legitimate signatures across Virginia – county by county and city by city – with at least 400 legitimate signatures in each congressional district. Virginia’s State Board of Elections recommends that campaigns come in with over 15,000 signatures, including over 700 from each congressional district given what a high proportion of signatures typically fail some requirement or another.
I would throw out for consideration that we should lower our requirements to 100 legitimate signatures per congressional district.
…and I say enough damn whining about it.
Let’s face it. The bar was not that high to begin with. A determined holiday shopper for two weeks could have traveled Virginia and obtained the requisite 1,000 signatures per congressional district and made the ballot.
Only two campaigns had the “ground game” (if that’s what it could be called — 1,000 petition signatures per district ain’t a “ground game”) to get the job done. Whomever was in charge of the effort for Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, or Huntsman should be piked.
But you guys understand what’s happened, right?
Romney has serious issues with both conservatives and evangelical voters still squeamish about his Mormonism, much less Romney’s commitment to either fiscal or social conservatism.
Paul in stark contrast — and even under the best of conditions — looks like a replay of Goldwater ’64. Which is great if we’re looking to turn the Republican Party into the Libertarian Party, or better if we’re looking to jettison the social conservative movement (abortion, drug legalization, and marriage — Paul is either agnostic or to the left of many social conservatives), but terrible if we’re looking to build the Reagan Coalition for the long haul.
In purely Roman terms, our choices are between a Massachusetts Tiberius or a Texan Caligula — a moderate (dare I say, Rockerfeller liberal?) who believes in the social welfare state, or a libertarian so opposed to the power of the federal government that American hegemony teeters in the balance.
In short, because two people working for Perry and Gingrich couldn’t get the job done, the first major primary — in Battleground Virginia no less — after all the second tier candidates have bled off, will now consist of only two choices: Romney or Paul.
Guess who’s happy about that?
Of course, those two people are going to whine and complain: “Well if you felt that strongly about it (insert your name here), why didn’t you do more to get those petitions signed?!” Great damn question… where was the clarion call for volunteers? Who called their friends? Who called churches? Who did that hardcore grassroots campaigning to make it happen?
Y’all didn’t… and frankly, it’s not our job to ask.
Tough primary season, folks. In one week, Iowa voters will vote between a sea of candidates with only two viable contenders. In New Hampshire and South Carolina, the same.
After Super Tuesday… well… good thing we have a U.S. Senate campaign to work for.
That should bring us back full circle. Cuccinelli’s idea, while worthwhile from a certain perspective, is really activism on the cheap. It doesn’t take that much to get 10,000 signatures. In fact, that’s a fairly low bar for statewide activism. Why waste the voter’s time expecting earned media to carry a weak candidate? Cuccinelli of all people understands the values of grassroots campaigning… and all but two candidates failed that critical test on December 23rd.