by G. Terry Madonna & Michael L. Young, Politically Uncorrected, May 15, 2014
Many Republicans who show up on May 20 to vote in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary will confront a familiar situation in American politics: they don’t have any choices.
Apparently, a few counties will have political GOP gadfly Bob Guzzardi on the ballot because a Supreme Court decision barring him from running came too late. But let’s not kid ourselves. There is no competition in the Republican Party for governor.
And that’s really too bad because as polls and other anecdotal evidence suggests, many Republicans would have preferred choices this year.
That some 3 million Pennsylvania Republicans have no primary choice this year for governor isn’t the worst of it; electoral choices are disappearing across the American political landscape, from state legislatures to Congress and beyond. More and more, Americans have fewer and fewer electoral choices at all levels of politics.
In fact, what passes for competition these days are the spasmodic shock waves that now convulse our politics from time to time, such as the 2010 tea party uprising or the infamous 2005 midnight pay raise in Pennsylvania. The lack of normal political competition has made the system particularly vulnerable to these electoral tsunamis.
Political competition constitutes a fundamental American value. It spurs the accountability of elected officials while ensuring the political system works to produce sound public policy. Yet, American politicians regularly exploit opportunities to limit it further.
For example, the Corbett campaign this year strenuously worked to keep his possible opponent off the ballot by using judicial challenges, a tactic employed by incumbents in both parties. These “ballot access challenges” are only one of an arsenal of tools politicians now regularly employ to limit competition. …
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