Should Hoffman pull this off, moderate to conservative Congressional Democrats -- those who rely most on middle-of-road independents for reelection -- will sense yet another broad electoral shift to the right. In brief, rather than be pulled in any progressive direction -- as conventional wisdom on the left has urged for their own protection -- they'll hunker down on the "right" side of every issue.Ironically, then, the self-described "fifth columnist" is little more than an establishmentarian liberal Democratic ideologue, and hence the rise of a Conservative third party candidate is an evil omen. However, the radical import of Hoffman's candidacy is crystal clear for 'third columnists' across the ideological spectrum. Consider, for instance, Sam Wilson's take on NY's 23rd at The Think 3 Institute:
In fact, at this stage, even if Hoffman loses, he may have made a lasting point to the nervously conservative among Congressional Democrats. Yes, the Hoffman-Scozzafava spat is an intriguing look into the GOP's family problems, but its ramifications could be far larger, and far more ominous, for liberal Democrats.
someone who wants to advance the Democratic agenda, but is not greedy, should support Hoffman. Since the seat was Republican in the first place, Hoffman's victory would not be a loss in Democratic voting strength, even if people argue that anything short of Democratic victory in every election is a rebuke to President Obama. Never mind him. The opportunity here, not just for opportunistic Democrats but for all enemies of the American Bipolarchy, is to give a "third party" the elusive viability that would come from electing a member to Congress. My hope is that, given the climate of dissatisfaction with Republican representation of the conservative movement, a Hoffman win would embolden the Conservative party to contest more elections in its own right rather than complacently endorse Republican candidates. The benefit to Democrats in the short term would be, ideally, a permanent split in the anti-Democratic bloc. The benefit to everyone in the long term would be the emboldening of progressive and leftist New Yorkers, in the absence of a monolithic Republican-conservative bogeyman, to make their own break from the Democratic party, to challenge incumbents or fill vacancies in "blue" districts with actual independents committed to the agenda of progressive constituents rather than that of a big-tent national committee.It may appear counter-intuitive, but if conservatives succeed in electing Hoffman in NY's 23rd on a third party ballot line they will have effected concrete "progressive change" by demonstrating that the Democratic-Republican Party's supposed iron lock on elected office is nothing more than a paper tiger. It is for this reason, I submit, that the Republican establishment has come out so strongly in favor of Hoffman's candidacy. Michael Steele, for instance, has now stated that a Hoffman victory "is a win for the GOP." By alleging that Hoffman is the "real" Republican in the race, GOP ideologues are, perhaps successfully, veiling the dangerous truth his candidacy reveals: the duopoly can be defeated. To his credit, Democrat strategist Joe Trippi has come right out and said it in plain English:
What we are seeing in 2009 is that incumbents or the “in” party in each race is having trouble holding on, and that where voters have a choice outside of both major parties enough voters are choosing the independent or third party candidate to rattle both major parties and effect the outcome, if not win the election outrightRecognition of this fact is beginning to gain traction in the mainstream media as well. In an AP article on the NJ gubernatorial race and the special election in NY's 23rd, Beth Fouhy writes of the nascent independent and third party insurgency: "Both parties ignore such sentiment at their peril in 2010 and perhaps into the 2012 presidential race." That which is a clear and present "danger for both parties" is hope and promise to the people of the United States. The current crisis of the Democratic-Republican Party and the duopoly system of government is nothing less than a golden opportunity for the American public to strike a serious blow against the nation's ruling political elite and the entrenched interests they represent. To vote Democrat or Republican in any race is to squander that opportunity and instead reproduce, once again, the political status-quo.
I am a Democrat and have been a Democrat all my life and I want Democrats to win in 2009 and 2010. But Republican, or Democrat, it would be a mistake to not see that both of our parties are in trouble and that many of our incumbents in 2010, in both parties, will be in jeopardy . . .
What voters are ready to tell anyone who will listen is that they would like to reject both parties right now if they could. They are trying to find a way to say to both parties, “We want you to change or get out of the way.” Both party establishments are in denial. Both party establishments are hard of hearing. And, both party establishments are likely to see the results on Tuesday as Karl Rove sees them – a victory of one party over another. That is the real danger in 2010 and beyond for both parties.