I got a call Sunday night from some of my friends in Monroe who informed me that they were about to put signs on their lawn for the governor’s race. Seems they’d thought long and hard before making their choice, and after carefully weighing all their, options they decided to put my old signs up instead of any current ones. They dug out 1998 and 2006 “LaMarche for Governor” signs and posted them proudly on the roadside.
Needless to say, I was flattered. Flattered and honored — as I always have been — when folks stuck bumper sticker on their vehicle, posted a sign or got up on a chilly November morning to cast a vote for me during one of my campaigns. My voters were especially cool, because they knew that because of prevailing major party tendencies, their vote would be in vain. It’s a true idealist who goes to the polls hoping for the best but knows in the pit of their stomach that the person they’re casting their ballot for will lose anyway.
If I were a sociologist, I’d study folks who fervently believe in something — then fight for it — even when they are told from the outset the cause is lost.
But those elections involved the choice to vote for someone who would lose. This year’s election is more a choice between losers. We could have avoided the nightmares that this year’s midterm elections brought to our doorstep. For starters, I recommend we put some serious time between Election Day and Halloween.
Have you noticed the ghouls running? And I’m not just talking about the impossible-to-ignore on-again, off-again witch Christine O’Donnell.
There are the ghoulish U.S. Senate candidates campaigning this year who threaten to eliminate the minimum wage. What self-respecting person could actually vote for a person who promises — once elected — to cut someone else’s pay below $7 an hour. These guys must worship the occult, because only the undead will be able to work for wages that demand you live in a hole in the ground and without food. We’ll have grave results if folks like Joe Miller, John Raese, Linda McMahon and Dino Rossi get elected.
And I haven’t even started discussing the candidates who like to wear costumes. You know, such as Rich Lott, who enjoys dressing as the most frightening creature of all — a Nazi! And he’s not content with scaring the girls and boys by dressing as a racist genocidal maniac — he has to dress as the most fiendish of all, an SS soldier.
The scariest thing about all these political races across the country is that, as a Mainer, you must sit back and watch the nightmare in states like Ohio and Delaware unfold. It’s a powerless feeling but it does drive home the fact that, by comparison, Maine’s elections aren’t so creepy after all.
Let’s take a look at the potential tricks and treats on Maine’s gubernatorial ballot next week. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve chatted with all the candidates on the ballot, with the exception of Libby Mitchell and Shawn Moody, about the race. The other three — Eliot Cutler, Paul LePage and Kevin Scott — contacted me to talk about the voters I represent and our potential compatibility. I respect all three for caring about my constituents.
First though, I’m bummed there’s no Green. It’s upsetting because the major parties succeeded in making the race impossible for bona fide little-guy opposition. Instead of actually earning the 30 percent they lost last time — the combined percentage Barbara Merrill and I had in 2006 — the ruling parties just wrote new laws making it practically impossible for folks like us to run. I personally tried to convince the Green candidate to fight back — paying 100 percent commissions on seed money collected, for example. Sadly, she insisted on fighting fair.
But still, even though he’s not a little guy, we political outsiders have hope. One alternative to the major parties has squeaked through and is now within howling distance of the Blaine House. That man is Eliot Cutler. His common sense is a treat, and he deserves to defeat the tricks the Democrats and Republicans have played on the election process.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@ hotmail.com.