Why I'm Dropping Out: The Grange Party Debacle Pt.6

My protest is over. I've officially withdrawn from the Wahkiakum County clerk race.

The worst thing you can call me is a crusader. I'm not a crusader, I'm just trying to make a point. And I think I made it crystal clear: It's wrong for me to drag a private association unwittingly onto the public ballot.

There, said it, done, no need to drag this on toward the November election.

Here are some closing thoughts about my protest:

What I did --declaring my candidacy under the banner of the Grange Party--would have been unimaginable before Washington's new election law was applied. Now the state, without restriction, has given the name Grange to any taker. I don't like this state intrusion. It has allowed me to change the message of a group. There is no such thing as a Grange Party, but that's what it would look like to voters who don't read legal disclaimers on their ballots

It's easy to dislike the Democratic and Republican parties. And many are happy that the new law hurts them. But there's collateral damage here. What about the other plaintiff in the current court case to overturn the law--the Libertarians? They hardly hold the reins of power. And they're not by any means benefiting from the current system like the multimillion dollar Democratic and GOP campaign-committee operations that control congress and our state legislatures

Libertarian Party members are mostly people discussing obscure Austrian economic ideas that call for limited government. Why shouldn't the Libertarians pick someone among them to stand for office without the state butting in?

Looking back, perhaps I should have chosen an organization which would have been more willing to protect its trademark? How about the Prefers Starbucks Party? Maybe Microsoft? The best would be the Prefers Walt Disney Party--because claiming Disney would further demonstrate what a Mickey-Mouse system this is.

Alas, the cartoon analogy was an irresistible cheap shot. So I'll close on a positive word for the proponents of the election law I'm protesting. Sure, they seek to open up the process. And more inclusion is a good thing because a lot of this problem is the fault of the two major parties. However, in trying to open things up, they've torn the lid off a bucket of worms regarding the right of private association and the ways a group ought to control its message.

There's a simple solution: Let parties nominate their own candidates. If there's a party label next to a candidate's name on the ballot, I want to know that the party is backing the candidate.

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