Dirty Tricks in Hoosier Land

Evan Bayh, a Clinton-type Democrat from Indiana, decided he wasn't going to run for re-election as a national senator this year. His timing for making the unexpected announcement has been rather controversial as he made it right before the candidate filing time limit, thereby catching the political class in Indiana off guard. Apparently, in Indiana, some candidates, if not all, have to get petition signatures to make the ballot, so those who were not expecting a so-called open seat to develop in the senate race a day or so before the time limit were caught off guard. This was obviously planned by Bayh so that progressives in the state could not have enough time to run a candidate or two for the senate, thereby allowing the right wing Democrats, in charge of the Democratic Party apparatus in Indiana, the opportunity to name his replacement on the ballot. Republicans are also upset and want a court to extend the filing time limit.

The court should not approve a filing extension even though dirty tricks (however, no breaking of the law) were involved. No one should assume that just because there is an incumbent in an office that the seat is not open for election. The term "open seat" as commonly used in political lexicon is actually a misnomer, because all seats up for election are open in elections. If progressives in Indiana did not have the gumption to challenge Bayh regardless of whether he would run again or not, they have no legal basis to call foul. Same for Republicans, although from a different perspective.

This is why the Party of Commons has no dilemma when it comes to running against incumbents. The latter do not own the seats, and if they don't live up to the political aspirations of the masses, they should be challenged regardless of political circumstances and voted out of office.

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