Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New party about anything BUT unity!

I’m old enough to remember the Solidarity Party and the Harold Washington Party – both of which were created to provide Democrats with alternatives to less-than-desirable candidates who managed to get the party’s nomination for public office.

Will a Unity Party candidate ever walk these grounds?

I also remember that neither party was ever capable of getting its candidates elected to public office, and in the future those party structures were used by some pretty fringe political elements to try to force people to pay attention to them.

SO EXCUSE ME for being skeptical that the Unity Party is going to be any more successful – even though I realize its ambitions are far less significant than what was attempted by those other alternate political parties of recent decades.

It’s just that the rules concerning third-party candidates are such that there are so many places where their candidates can be tripped up. And in the end, there will be many people who will just knee-jerk vote “Democrat” either because they’re clueless about what is happening or they are afraid that even a one-time shift from the party will come back to bite them in the derriere.

Specifically, I’m referring to the Unity Party – which is being created in the Illinois 10th Illinois House district on Chicago’s West Side to come up with an alternative to Democratic nominee state Rep. Derrick Smith. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that a "Unity" party would be trying to split Democrats away from backing their own party's nominee.

Smith is the one facing a criminal indictment in U.S. District Court on charges that he solicited bribes in exchange for his work as a legislator. He’s also the one facing procedures that could result in his removal from the Illinois House.

BUT, THERE IS the reality that Smith is still the nominee. Which means the Illinois House could kick him out for the rest of his current term this year – only to have him win the Nov. 6 election and return to Springfield in January.

For at least as long as he can serve until he is found guilty – at which point he would automatically be dumped from the Legislature.

That is why Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (who was Smith’s political sponsor) is leading the Unity Party effort, to try to depose Smith so that he can’t return once his fellow legislators manage to depose him from his seat in Springfield, Ill.

The party is accepting applications for a nominee through Friday, and White (who also is a Democratic committeeman) will hold a hearing Tuesday to give him a chance to interview prospective politicos.

WHICH OUGHT TO be a humorous political process to watch. Our Democracy at work! We produce a person to take away the elective position to which the Democratic Party already has a nominee.

A nominee, for that matter, who was only there because he was a “loyal soldier,” so to speak, of that same Democratic Party.

The whole process is becoming absurd. And it will be even moreso if Smith manages to defeat whoever happens to become the Unity Party nominee.

Now before I hear complaints, I still remain by my past viewpoint that Smith shouldn’t be forced out. It serves the people right to be embarrassed if they nominated a person facing criminal indictment.

ALTHOUGH CONSIDERING WHO Smith ran against in the primary (a Republican claiming to be a Democrat who privately went around calling his potential constituents ignorant), it may have been the right thing that Smith won.

How much of the problem of a corrupt state legislator is due to the idea that he doesn't take his own work seriously because he'd rather be working between Clark and LaSalle streets

If anything, the problem here is the fact that Chicagoans take their legislative candidates way too lightly. Too many people don’t put any thought into whom they send to the Statehouse to represent their interests.

In the Chicago political set-up, the Statehouse is where prospective political people go to gain experience – before they return to the city to run for a more substantive office. I’m sure that even Smith himself was hoping for such an outcome – being able to get himself a post at City Hall, or a consolation prize at the County Building.

Even if the eventual Unity Party candidate prevails come November and we wind up with a candidate who identifies him (or her) self as “U-Chicago,” it isn’t going to change THAT reality.


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