I’ve been wondering from the beginning how serious Sen. Bernie Sanders is about running for president. Is he raising money (supposedly yes, $6 million so far, which is barely an ante in a presidential campaign), hiring staff, and—most importantly—organizing serious campaigns in caucus states and elsewhere? Is he doing the legwork to get on primary ballots as a Democrat? Or is this just a vanity project, a way of raising consciousness and attracting attention to his nutty views?
Judging by the large and enthusiastic crowds he is drawing (in contrast to Hillary’s “rent-a-bridge table full of sycophants” tactics), it has started to seem possible that he could upset Hillary Clinton, and become the George McGovern of 2016, leading Democrats to another 49-state landslide defeat. What’s a Democratic establishment to do?
Simple: Keep Sanders off the ballot in as many places as possible. How: argue that he’s an independent, and therefore ineligible to collect Democratic delegates. New York seems to be ground zero for the effort to deny Sanders ballot access:
Vermont Senator/Indie Rocker Bernie Sanders is an Independent on paper, which means that he’s going to have a hard time getting his name on the Democratic presidential primary ballot in New York to compete with Taylor Swift fan Hillary Clinton next year.
Why? Meet Wilson-Pakula, a very obscure state law. The Wilson-Pakula act, which passed in New York State back in 1947, bars any candidate from running for the nomination of a political party that he or she is not officially affiliated with. Unless, that is, he or she manages to get permission from that party’s committee leaders.
Sadly, Wilson-Pakula helped marginalize some of the political movements that Bernie supports. According to the Washington Post, pre-1947, “communist and socialist candidates had been able to become candidates… after winning support from voters.” In other words, back then, average New Yorkers got to make candidacy appointments.
Under current law, permission to cross party lines is, apparently, very rarely granted. It doesn’t help that the relevant committee in New York State has a lot of Hillary supporters: From Assembly Chair David Paterson, to Governor Cuomo himself who, as Capital put it, “controls most of the party apparatus.”
So why is this interesting? It’s another great example of liberal hypocrisy (not that we’re short of examples). Remember this the next time you hear a Democrat caterwauling about the supposed Republican efforts to “suppress the vote” with voter ID laws and such. Not much good having access to the polling place if the candidates you want to vote for can’t get on the ballot.
(Hat tip: TE.)