Thursday, December 2, 2010

Against Challenging The Election

The day after the election MC asked: who lost the governorship? Our analysis still stands, we believe, upon re-reading that post a month and a day later. The question we now face, however, is whether Tom Emmer should challenge in court the election results after the ongoing recount concludes and the almost certain certification by the Secretary of State that Mark Dayton won, that Mark Dayton is, incomprehensively, Minnesota's next governor.

The answer to that question is no, Tom Emmer should not contest in court the outcome of the election for governor. We were appalled that Emmer vanished after the election--some leader!--and appeared a week later to give a defensive, graceless 19 minute press conference without once ever thanking his staff or supporters. Cue Kennedy's comment about Nixon: no class. Where, pray tell, was his running mate Annette! Meeks? She was a no-show at the ersatz press conference. MC can't exactly blame her, can't exactly absolve her absence either. Emmer's supporters insisted he should be the the GOP nominee because Seifert was too establishment. Meeks was formerly Newt Gingrich's chief of staff. We are not certain how much more insider one can get and her selection split Emmer's far right base in the party. The omens were bad coming out of the convention and the campaign's subsequent hapless performance only underscored them.

MC understands perfectly well the campaign's request to the Minnesota Supreme Court to engage in reconciliation before the state canvassing board met. This claim would have been time barred after the board met. We don't believe, having said that, that its argument was particularly persuasive or well grounded. Contrary to many of our friends' protestations, the Minnesota Supreme Court got the decision exactly right. We can't judge its analysis because it has not yet issued its opinion in the matter. We do believe, however, that its considered opinion is likely to intentionally close off any arguments based upon its decision in a subsequent election challenge. One apple. One bite.

Currently the recount proceeds apace with the occassional flared nostril of a volunteer or election official providing the only passing drama. We pity our friends in the media who have to cover this as though it were the Coleman/Franken recount, which most assuredly it is not. The observations on Twitter about the recount are worth their weight in, um, ballots or something.

Which brings us to our present position: all known facts indicate that Dayton has an insurmountable lead that cannot be overcome either through the recount process or a challenge in court. There is no path, despite being given such assurances.

We have read in news reports of our friend Tony Sutton, chair of the RPM, saying that reconciliation and the vouching issue could provide a basis for a court challenge after the inevitable certification in Dayton's favor. MC doesn't see it. To be sure, anything could be ginned up as grounds to justify an election challenge in court, the effect of which is to leave the current, what's his name, governor in place. The salient point is that with such an enormous lead (these things being relative) the average Minnesota voter will be repulsed, and rightly so, with actions that smack of gaming the system, of bad faith, as politics not really as usual in squeaky clean Minnesota. MC is sorry Senator Coleman had such abject, lousy lawyers last time out but getting a better one from DC this time won't do the trick. The dog barks, the caravan moves on and all that.

MC must, however, admit that it is not privy to all of the facts and circumstances that the party and Emmer have at hand. We don't mean to suggest that a court challenge should be foregone if there are, in fact, real and credible issues that warrant such. Having paid excrutiatingly close attention for the last month, though, we'd be hard pressed to name any. Hence our concern that actually contesting in court the governor's election would look to be nothing more than an obvious attempt to keep a republican governor in office while a republican legislature proffered up for the former's signature legislation that Dayton most likely would not sign.

MC stands for Minnesota Conservatives and as conservatives we don't believe voters are stupid. Our fear is that their disgust will be taken out on republican candidates--especially in the senate--in 2012. That's the self-interested take. But there is also the idea that we as republicans and conservatives stand for something, opportunism not being one of them. We hear endless trashing of Dayton. We get it. We also offered up to voters such a flawed candidate that he could not beat Dayton. A little humility is in order from the crowd that got Emmer the endorsement. His performance with the press recently not only leaves much to be desired but reveals the candidate for himself. We're not sure there ever was a mask but if so, it has slipped and the man behind it is unappealing.

We're surprised we're surprised.