When the Secretary of State refused to put my name on the ballot as the New Party’s candidate because I was already on the ballot as the Democratic Party candidate, we sued in federal court and won. The State’s argument was “fusion” would lead to voter confusion: “Voters might think they could vote twice.” Our argument was that the United States Constitution included the Freedom to Associate. If people who wanted to associate together to put a candidate on the ballot were not free to do so, then it violated the Constitution.
“Fusion” is where you are on the ballot on two different party lines and the voters can choose on which line to vote for you – still having only one vote – but you, the candidate, get the combined total for all voters for you on either line. In other words, while not violating the “one person, one vote” rule, it’s a way to organize and create excitement about building a NEW political platform, and demonstrate support for the platform by how many votes were for Dawkins on the New Party line compared to the Democrat’s line. Maybe in time Democrats would be more mindful of New Ideas. Individuals not particularly enamored with either of the two major parties get more of a voice, more of a chance to be effective – exactly what the Freedom of Association clause was meant to protect, is how our lawyer, known as the “Tenth Justice,” argued it.
You see, winning the law suit didn’t get the Establishment to back-off, and, in the end, fusion hit its own glass ceiling. I talk about my glass ceiling in “The Third Time’s The Charm,” the ceiling I had when I ran for Mayor. In either case, by “glass ceiling” I mean the attempt to marginalize an idea (or me) from having greater success, not based on merit (or ability), or the promotion of democracy, but rather by fiat from the Powers-That-Be in order to preserve their power, the status quo.
The State appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in Timmons vs. Twin Cities Area New Party (Timmons was the stand-in for Minnesota’s Secretary of State), six of the nine Justices held that the State’s interest in an orderly ballot (pretty paternalistic) trumped the Constitutional Right of Free Association, and voted to give favored status to what they called “the traditional two party system.” (This despite our case being argued by the Harvard Law Professor known as the “Tenth Justice” because of his many appearances before the U.S. Supreme Court on constitutional issues.) So it’s up to you, the Up and Coming Generation, to crack and break glass ceilings. Don’t give-up on Politics! It’s all we have! Read Republic, Lost.
Tomorrow: Minnesota Youth Works