I must say, I’m having more fun watching Republicans whine about Chris Anglin filing to run for the Supreme Court. I could almost hear the howl when a judge ruled in his favor yesterday, ordering a full hearing on whether or not he can run as a Republican. Of course he can. Changing the rules after the fact won’t likely fly.
To recap, Anglin filed to run for the Supreme Court as a Republican at the end of June after switching his registration to GOP at the beginning of June. He clearly followed the law as it was written. Republicans screamed foul saying he only did it to split the Republican vote in November, despite trying to recruit Democrats to do the same thing.
So what? I don’t know Anglin’s motives and I really don’t care. If what Republicans are saying is true, Anglin is what’s known in politics as a stalking horse. We’ve had them as long as we’ve had elections. In America, they usually show up in primaries and are relatively common. They’re recruited to split up the vote to help another candidate. Stalking horses might be recruited to split the vote in a county or town, along gender or racial lines or along ideological lines. More often than not, stalking horses fail to accomplish their goals. Every now and then, they’re successful.
When Elaine Marshall ran for US Senate, a woman from Old Fort filed to run in the Democratic primary. She wouldn’t talk to the press and she wouldn’t campaign. Somebody apparently thought she could steal women votes from Marshall. It didn’t work.
Stalking horses don’t usually show up in general elections because they get eliminated in primaries. That’s one of the reasons to have primaries. Republicans, though, eliminated the screening process. The GOP was so determined that it went to court to defend eliminating primaries for Court of Appeals and Supreme Court races over the protest of Democrats. They won and now they don’t like the outcome. Boohoo.
What’s far more disturbing than Chris Anglin following the rules to run for Supreme Court under the party banner of his choice, is the most powerful government body in the state trying to rig elections for partisan gain. The GOP legislature targeted African-Americans with “surgical precision” to make voting more difficult. They eliminated early voting sites for students who have difficulty with transportation. Republican House Majority Leader David Lewis said he drew Congressional Districts that heavily favored Republicans by a 10-3 margin because he couldn’t draw them that would ensure an 11-3 outcome. And they thought eliminating primaries for a winner-takes-all Supreme Court race would benefit Republican Barbara Jackson.
Politics is full of intended consequences. For the GOP, Chris Anglin is one of them. Quit whining.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >