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Tancredo Over Principles   August 23rd, 2010
It's all about Tancredo overturning the primary, not about principles       


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Tancredo's futile effort at a minor party campaign for governor of Colorado has evolved into its next phase with his offer last week to withdraw from the race if his Republican counterpart does the same. This latest act of arrogance is where it was all going from the beginning: Tancredo doesn't expect to win. He never did. He just wants to manipulate and overturn the primary results that were decided by 400,000 Colorado Republicans.

Tancredo has manipulated and used his new party--and his supporters--to give him the means necessary to single-handedly decide Colorado's election for governor. Tancredo's campaign means your vote and my vote in this election will be meaningless. The only vote that will matter is Tancredo's. That's because his candidacy will guarantee the election of Democrat Hickenlooper whereas his withdrawal will give Colorado voters the voice they deserve to have in November.

The worst part is that Tancredo's actions are not based on principle. Rather, his actions contradict the fundamental principles of our democracy.

Tancredo's Lack of Principles

As best I can tell, this was never about principles for Tancredo. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall Tancredo having ever identified a principle on which he significantly differed from the Republican candidates (now singular) before issuing his ultimatum on July 22nd.

Tancredo's original ultimatum said: "Regardless of the outcome of the primary election on Aug. 10, on Aug. 11 the winner must agree to remove himself from consideration, if polling on that date shows that he is losing the race for governor." Explaining the reason for his threat to enter the governor's race, he said, "The two candidates vying for the Republican nomination have, in my opinion, lost any hope of carrying out a successful campaign. "

Where's the principle in his ultimatum or in his explanation of why he was issuing it? His ultimatum didn't highlight any ideological differences. No issues were discussed in his ultimatum. There were no principles. His entry into the governor's race seems to have been based entirely on his personal opinion that neither candidate could win. That analysis may be described as practical or pragmatic (and according to the polls it may also be described as "wrong")--but it had nothing to do with principles.

Many people believe that this kind of thinking--where we're more concerned about perceived "electability" than with principles--is exactly how we've ended up with so many unprincipled politicians in the ruling class.

Tancredo Choosing Republican Nominee

The fact that Tancredo has offered to withdraw from the race for governor if the Republican nominee does the same demonstrates that this is not about Tancredo for governor; it's about Tancredo picking the Republican nominee for governor.

If the Republican candidate were to submit to Tancredo's demand by withdrawing, a 24-member Vacancy Committee of high-ranking Republican officials would select the replacement nominee. But it wouldn't really be the 24-member Vacancy Committee selecting the nominee, it would be Tom Tancredo himself. Just as he is trying to strong-arm the Republican nominee out of the race, he would hold the 24-member Vacancy Committee hostage and demand they select a Republican of Tancredo's choosing--if the committee doesn't choose who Tancredo prefers, Tancredo would stay in the race and guarantee defeat.

So we've gone from a democratic process where 400,000 Republicans throughout Colorado cast their vote to choose the Republican nominee, to 24 party leaders choosing the Republican nominee, all the way down to Tom Tancredo choosing the Republican nominee all by himself. And he isn't even a Republican!

It's possible that Tancredo would choose an absolutely amazing Republican for the party's nominee. Maybe I'd even like the new nominee more than I like our elected nominee. But that's not the point. Maybe I'm still too idealistic, but the ends don't justify the means. We have a democratic process in place to select our nominee and it has nothing to do with any single person making the final decision.

There's a big difference between Tancredo exercising his right to seriously run for governor and Tancredo doing so knowing he won't win, and doing so for the sole purpose of overturning the Republican primary. Tancredo is engaging in classic backroom politics and power-brokering at its worst, but with audacity of doing it in front of the whole world.

It's All About Tancredo Over Principles

Tancredo's endeavor has nothing to do with principles. And, even if it did, no conservative's principles will be advanced by a Democrat being elected--and Tancredo's move guarantees a Democrat will be in the governor's mansion during redistricting. In the wave election that's about to take place in November, possibly the biggest thing Democrats have going for them in Colorado is Tancredo.

Tancredo's whole adventure is nothing short of an attempted "coup d'etat" of the Republican party's nomination process where a single person has veto power over the votes of 400,000 Republicans in the primary. Your primary vote will have had no meaning if it is subverted by Tom Tancredo, and all of our votes in the November election will be meaningless if Tancredo chooses to elect Hickenlooper by continuing his campaign.

The principles of democracy do not include a single person having this kind of power in an election. In fact, democracy is supposed to prevent precisely this kind of abuse. Tancredo has played the rules to circumvent democracy and could yet single-handedly overturn a primary election or choose to hand victory to the Democrats.

And while Tancredo's thwarting of the spirit of democracy is not illegal, it's certainly not principled. And it definitely shouldn't be supported by conservatives.

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