By way of Ballot Access News
Rich Rubino writes at Politics DMZ:
In the special U.S. Senate race to succeed the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, there are three viable candidates with a chance to win. While much of the focus is on Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley, Joe L. Kennedy (no relation to the late Senator), an Independent with Libertarian proclivities, has met the requisite qualifications. His name will appear on the ballot January 19. Inevitably, we will hear Massachusetts Republicans marginalize Kennedy by maintaining that a vote for Kennedy is a wasted vote, or that a vote for Kennedy is a vote for Democrat Martha Coakley. They will demand that he abandon his bid and endorse Brown. They will say that this is an election between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley.
This is a well-used tactic the Political-Industrial-Complex (Democrats and Republicans) employ to hold and maintain electoral hegemony. The Democrats did it in the 2002 gubernatorial sweepstakes by calling a vote for Green Party Nominee Jill Stein a wasted vote. In fact, Former President Bill Clinton came to Massachusetts the day before the election in support of Democratic Candidate Shannon O’Brien and warned voters: “Don’t Get Nadered Again.” We also saw this technique in 2006 during the Massachusetts Gubernatorial campaign when the Republican inteligencia argued that a vote for Independent Christy Mihos was a wasted vote or a vote for Deval Patrick. Mihos’ erstwhile Republican political allies succeeded in taking Mihos off-message. He spent much of the campaign defending himself against charges that he should extricate himself from the race.
By employing the “Wasted Vote Syndrome” strategy, the two major parties are telling voters to eschew their conscience, and vote for the candidate they find least objectionable. They are in effect telling voters they should look at the roster of candidates and immediately eliminate the one who they tell us cannot win.
The reality, however, is that Kennedy “can” win. He needs just over a third of the vote. The idea that he cannot win is merely psychological. When the ballots are tabulated, the candidate with the most votes wins.
Hynotherapist Mike Cohen, CHT of Hypnosis for Positive Change in Swampscott, Massachusetts, asserts that by making the argument that a vote for an Independent Candidate is a wasted vote, the parties are engaging in “one big hypnotic stage show . . . They use the hypnotic technique of “repetition.” “You say it enough times, people start to believe it, and when that happens, the subject, in this case the prospective voters, then perform as expected.”
It is likely that the Republican high-command will operate under the same supposition with Kennedy that they did with Mihos, they will argue that since their message is similar to the Republican candidate, the Independent must drop out. But like Mihos, Kennedy is not a facsimile of the Republican candidate. Mihos was distinctive from both Major Party candidates. For example, he was the only gubernatorial aspirant who advocated Freezing Property Tax Assessments and setting aside 40% of state revenues for local aid to the municipalities. In the case of Kennedy, he is the only candidate who opposes both the Obama surge Strategy in Afghanistan, and the public Health Insurance Plan.
Kennedy can win this race, but he must first make a concerted effort to persuade the voters that a Kennedy victory is possible. Cohen suggests Kennedy use repetition as a counter-measure when told voters do not want to waste their votes. Cohen says: “If I’m Joe Kennedy I’m saying a vote for Joe Kennedy is a vote for Joe Kennedy and what we stand for, and if we get enough votes, we win.” Cohen says Kennedy must repeat ad nauseam the tagline: “Your Vote Counts.”
Kennedy must disarm Republicans of the argument that only Democrats and Republicans can win public office. Kennedy would be wise to seek endorsements of Independents who have won public office, like former Maine Governor Angus King, or former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, and present them at a press conference as living proof that Independents can win elections. To further dispel the wasted-vote fallacy, Kennedy would also be wise to highlight a quote made in 1998 by Republican Gubernatorial nominee Norm Coleman less than a month before the election that proved to be dead wrong: “A vote for Jesse Ventura is a vote for Skip Humphrey.” (The Democratic candidate).