Paul Krugman, on why South Carolina Republicans were right to vote for Mark Sanford, given their political preferences. He’s right.
People who say they vote for “the person, not the party” are either lying or 100% naive about how politics works.
Legislative majorities not only determine what policies are enacted, they decide what gets discussed.
This applies to state legislatures as much as it does the US House and Senate. Elect a Republican assembly and the agenda will be voter ID laws, abortion restrictions, Planned Parenthood defunding, school vouchers and tax cuts.
And if these are the things you want from your legislature, it is totally alright to vote Republican.
But don’t believe you bear no responsibility for this kind of retrograde agenda just because you sent some nice, “moderate” reformy Republican to represent you in the state capital, instead of some hackish/corrupt/unsavory Dem. The most important vote that moderate dude takes will be during the chamber’s organizational session, when he will vote for the GOP leadership to assume the speakership and take control of the committee chairmanships. From then until the majority flips, it’s nothing but Medicaid cuts and hearings about Obamaphones.
I can’t really imagine the case for voting for the “right person” over a party label until you get to municipal government.
There, transposing the views of national parties onto local political actors is a fools errand because the issues are totally different. Most growing metro areas have competing political cliques along the lines of Let the Developers Build All the Things Party versus the Only Existing Residents Are Allowed to Have Nice Things Party and since members of these cliques don’t align perfectly with the views of national parties, you actually have to study the issues to make an educated choice in a local election.
tl;dr I’m a NY Democrat who votes for complete assholes all the time, so I totally get where SC Republicans get off voting for Mark Sanford.
He stole that line from Brothers & Sisters. Just changed a few names & policies.