Publius Speaks

Publius Speaks
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Monday, June 16, 2014


Is Congressman Richard Hanna concerned? Apparently, Eric Cantor's loss in Virginia has him a bit perplexed. Why else would he bother to run almost a real campaign against Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, when he has been predicted to be the winner with about 60% of the vote in the June 24th Primary. That Primary win will automatically put him back in Congress because of the lack of Democratic opposition on the general ballot of Nov. 4th, 2014. Maybe the similarities with Cantor's race are bothering him. After all, he has a huge lead in the money race; Tenney is an unknown in most of the congressional district, and she is further to the Right than Hanna, but in a District that doesn't seem to fit well with anything too radical!

Nonetheless, Congressman Hanna has been conducting a campaign that attempts to show himself as the more conservative of the two, which is a striking contrast to his prior races when he attempted (and succeeded) to make himself look like a moderate Republican. Now he contends in his TV ads (and, I'm told) in his literature (which for some reason, doesn't show up in my mailbox anymore!) that he is the quintessential conservative Republican, who votes against big government, voted against the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), supports the 2nd Amendment with all his might, and brings jobs to New York State. That last claim, by the way, is a farcical bunch of rhetoric, since under his watch, one of the largest employers in the area, Remington Arms, of Ilion, NY, has begun to move local jobs to its new Hunter, Alabama location. His TV ad cites only that he is a self-made millionaire who brought jobs to this area through his own entrepreneurial construction business. He has no legislative record of creating jobs for this area. In fact, he voted against the Jobs Bill and the Infrastructure Bill that would have spawned some jobs for this area, but, remember, he is against big spending! Governor Cuomo's Opportunity Agenda initiative on the state level has brought more jobs to this area than Hanna ever will.

Mr. Hanna is the "do-nothing" candidate: "do nothing that could alienate enough voters to bring defeat." That's his unspoken, but evident motto. He plays the waiting game on all legislation; rarely leads the way to sponsor (or even co-sponsor) meaningful legislation. The only legislation that he seems to favor is anything that pleases the members of the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Hanna is all Business-oriented; never mind the worker, or those who need a hand-up in this life, or the children, one of every five of whom lives in poverty. One could make a strong case that he, like so many conservative Republicans, is neglectful of our children.

How? By voting against gun background checks, assault weapons and large magazine clips. By voting for repeal of Affordable health care that extends Medicaid to more families and their children. By voting against an increase in Pell grants and against lower interest rates for student loans. By supporting drastic cuts to Food Stamps and WIC. How? By not supporting the extension of unemployment insurance or raising the Minimum wage. In all these, and more, children are affected and Mr. Hanna has an unblemished record of casting votes that favor children's poverty, educational deprivations, lack of research into children's diseases, and, oh yes -- death from gun violence!

Does it sound as though I really don't care for Mr. Hanna? Well, not exactly true. I don't care for his lack of principle and his attempts to make himself seem to be doing something meaningful, when he is really doing nothing to advance the lives of a major portion of his constituency. He does not represent certain of his constituents at all (the poor, the unemployed, children, college students, women (although he did start out to support women by telling a large crowd of them to spend their money on Democrats!). But my opposition to Mr. Hanna's philosophy and legislative record is not quite the main point I want to make today. (Sorry, if I misled you).

Today, I am calling on all those whom Hanna does not represent, and all those who disagree with his conservative beliefs, and all those who see him as a do-nothing Congressman who values office above effective representation and the needs of constituents -- I am asking you today NOT TO GIVE UP YOUR VOTE by staying home, or by holding your nose and casting a vote FOR Hanna!

It MUST BE SAID that none of the people whose names appear on this poster have any idea that they have been suggested for a write-in -- they are simply names of Progressives listed here as examples. None of them have indicated any desire to be a write-in candidate, and none have given permission to write in their name. But, you have the right to vote for anyone you want, so you can write-in a name in spite of any disinclination or disclaimer, because your vote is yours and it's free and it's secret!

So, I am strongly urging you to CAST A PROTEST VOTE on November 4th. It is important that you not let Mr. Hanna get away with his do-nothing record, or with his lack of attention to the needs of the people of this District. YOU MUST CAST A PROTEST VOTE on Nov. 4th, and here's how YOU CAN DO IT!

CAST A WRITE-IN BALLOT! That's right. You can write-in the name of anyone you want at the bottom of the column that has Mr. Hanna's name on it for Congress (you can do this for any office, but I'm targeting only the column for "Representative In Congress"). It is so simple, I don't know why it does not get done more often! Look here at last year's ballot. All you do is write the name of someone you would favor to replace Richard Hanna. It's best not to waste this opportunity by putting in a cartoon character or movie star, but to actually record your own name or that of a progressive Democrat, some of whom are suggested on the poster above. Then you take the ballot as usual to a teller or directly to a scanner, and make sure your ballot is scanned. That's it.
(here | at the bottom is where it
says "write-in" on the ballot)

It is important to deal with several questions. For instance:
Q. Why bring this up now? Why not wait until the fall?
A. Because NOW is the time to start a movement and to get people thinking about it. You can start by notifying as many friends and neighbors and relatives as you can (who live in the 22nd NY district) that this is something they should consider. Then get them to notify at least 5 more people. Help all summer by "heating up" this movement.

Q. Isn't a write-in vote a wasted vote? Very few people have ever been elected by that method?
A. It depends on how you look at it. If your only reason to cast a write-in vote is to win an election, it may be an inopportune way to wage a campaign.
On the other hand, if you look at it as a protest vote, it could certainly have some influence, particularly on the next election in 2016.
But here's what I think it could do in 2014:
-- preserve our precious right to vote for the candidate of our choice. A write-in is presumably for your personal favorite.
-- give Mr. Hanna something to think about when this write-in movement begins to 'tweak' the interest of the media. All those questioned by the media will have a chance to say why you oppose Mr. Hanna and what you want instead.
-- and that equates to education. This write-in movement is not about the size of the vote; it's about educating people to the issues and to Rep. Hanna's record. It's about making sure that people understand that Hanna can't be trusted. He veers with the wind -- from a moderate to a conservative, for instance (and probably back to moderate soon enough).

It's about making sure that people understand that Richard Hanna is not going to vote "Yea" on bread and butter issues like raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, making sure single mothers have help sheltering, caring for and feeding their children. He's not going to vote for senior citizens getting a raise in their social security benefits instead of a cut or an inadequate voucher. He's not going to support anything in the Affordable Care Act, which means that he doesn't support extended Medicaid, which is helping so many persons who are disabled, and he doesn't support reducing drug costs for Seniors by getting rid of the Donut-hole in Part D of Medicare which is right now being done as a part of the ACA (ObamaCare).

It's all about understanding that someone who votes for every austerity budget presented by Paul Ryan to the Congress, as Mr. Hanna has done, is voting against your welfare!  
Mr. Hanna believes in draconian cuts for the working poor and middle-class citizens, but has said or done nothing to cut the voluminous corporate welfare that the government spews out to corporations and rich individuals by means of the federal income tax system. Welfare for the rich that Hanna supports is far and away more costly than the amount of waste in the federal social programs for the poor or those with special needs.
That's also why we need to start now. This is an education campaign; not a political campaign. If people don't understand what the radical Right has in mind for them, they are about to court catastrophe!

Q. But, what if the protest vote turns out to be so low that it makes little impression on the voters?
A. Another very good reason to get this movement started now! It's not the size of the write-in vote I'm worried about. It's the lack of a viable Democrat running against Hanna that has me frustrated and angry. It's the expected size of the Hanna vote that has me upset.
What we most need to do besides turn out a protest vote, is to turn out targeted voters. What does that mean? It means finding voters who don't usually vote in off-cycle elections when a presidential candidate is not running. It means finding people who should be voting but are not. It most of all means targeting certain groups of people that can make an impression by their vote.
I'll tell you what would be more impressive than the size of the write-in vote.  If we could point to the fact that mostly single women, minorities, new citizens, college students, people living in poverty, plus seniors were the demographics that came out to cast their protest write-in votes! Such a turn-out -- even if relatively small -- would make the point that Mr. Hanna is not representative of his entire district! And we will make that point if YOU start now to get people -- especially these specific groups of people -- fired-up about going to the polls and casting a Write-In Protest Vote.

Here are a couple more flyers and fact sheets that may appeal to you in this People's Campaign for a write-in vote.

Copy Them -- Print Them Out -- Distribute Them!
No One will ACT on THIS unless YOU take the initiative.
You know it's a Good Idea -- citizens should have a way to express their frustration.
A WRITE-IN VOTE is one way to do it!
START A Grassroots MOVEMENT! YOU Can Do It!