I prefer clear laws with regrettable results to judicial legerdemain in the service of “higher causes,” the nature of which vary from person to person. You can always endeavor to change the law through elected representatives who serve at the electorate’s pleasure. Letting the courts allow a hand-picked candidate who did not run in the primary to replace a primary winner who screwed up his campaign does not strike me as, ahem, genuine democracy. It’s playground logic: I call do-overs. Nor would this situation be acceptable and genuine simply because it allowed for a “spirited campaign” to follow. (The previous campaign was unspirited and unenlightening in the Times’ eyes, because it consisted mostly of the challenger pointing out that he wasn’t a greasy ball of vicious, solipsistic mendacity like You Know Who.) If the government decided to have the most boring candidate shot in the streets so the other candidates could have a spirited campaign about his assassination, I wouldn’t see this as an improvement.
If all of these points seem like reducto ab absurdum, well, they are – – but that’s what happens when you ignore what laws say in favor of what you say they should mean.
I’m watching the news right now; Angelo Genova, the New Jersey Democratic Party Counsel, just said this:
“The right of the voter to exercize a free and competitive choice is paramount to any technical nicety that might be suggested by a time limitation in a statute.”
There you have it: all campaign regulations are meaningless, because they are “technical niceties” grounded in bothersome “statutes” that prevent a “competitive” choice. This is the future of American politics, right here.
I fear at the end of it all I’ll just wish they put on togas and went back to stabbing each other on the steps. If they’re going to call themselves the Senate, they might as well act like their namesake.