The purpose of this entry is to address the recent lightning-fast and successful legal move by Democratic candidates to keep Tom Wakely, katija gruene, and me off the 2020 general election ballot. We could also mention Charles Waterbury, and we will a few paragraphs down.
The facts in this case extend in multiple directions, making it difficult to form a coherent entry with smooth transitions. So the subheadings will mark shifts in topic. There may be multiple typos and misstatements below, so don't be shy about pointing them out in Comments.
Before diving into this irony-rich matter, I would like to state unequivocally that I am not personally upset about this development. I bear no personal animus toward Democratic Senate nominee MJ Hegar. However, I do bear heavy and sustained animus toward the US Corporate Empire for which she flew helicopters in Afghanistan.
My level of disdain for the Democratic Party as an institution, which was already as high as ever I can remember, is just a tad higher as of today. It's very telling that this Democratic US Senate candidate's Issues page contains almost nothing on foreign policy; the closest she gets is something like let's not put immigrant kids in cages. Democrats don't want you thinking about foreign policy, especially not our state of Endless War. That's why Bill Clinton kept pushing kitchen-table issues while ignoring the horrors of post–Gulf War economic sanctions in Iraq. The Clinton campaign's It's the Economy, Stupid! has devolved into ZOMG! Trump!!!
As for the Hegar campaign's use of Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" as background music in a campaign video, I leave you to draw your own interpretations. I earnestly hope that Joan got paid for it.
We've discussed the federal suit at length in multiple blog entries. Oral arguments were heard last month. There's still no decision from the federal district court on overturning the filing fee provisions. If the judge does overturn them, that won't affect Green and Libertarian candidates until 2022.
This may be the best part of the whole story. The attorneys contacted the GPTX co-chairs last Friday (14 August) to let them know that our candidacies were facing a potential challenge in court. GPTX fired back with a motion to dismiss. The matter was brought before a state district court in Travis County Monday, the deadline for filing to run as an official write-in candidate. They could have challenged this as early as April, immediately after the GPTX convention, but they decided to wait until the Greens had no legal recourse, with the deadline for county clerks to prepare ballots coming up next week.
The name of Charles Waterbury, our multi-time candidate for Supreme Court (Position 1 this time around) also came up in the attorneys' saber-rattling last Friday. They did a little digging and discovered that Waterbury had voted in the Democratic Primary. No Green officials recall hearing this bit of information from him. He bloody well knew when he filed last December that he could not legally participate in any other party's primaries or conventions. Perhaps by March he got caught up in Bernie Fever and forgot that he had applied to run for office as a Green?
Waterbury had two strikes against him: He had joined our little protest against the fees by neither paying them nor submitting petitions in lieu thereof.
The challenge reached the court in the form of a request for a temporary restraining order, compelling GPTX to ask the Secretary of State's Office to remove the non-paying candidates. Hegar's name is on the brief attached above, but Railroad Commission candidate Chrysta Castañeda and TX-21 candidate Wendy Davis (remember her? I voted for her for governor in 2014) got the ball rolling. Jan Soifer, the 98th district court judge, found in her injunction that having to compete against non-fee-paying Greens would "immediately and irreparably harm Plaintiffs and their legal rights."
"Irreparably." What. Ever. Even in this bizarre year, I'd be shocked to win more votes than John Cornyn's margin of victory. (What, you thought maybe this is the year a Democrat wins a statewide race in Texas?) As I noted on my campaign's Facebook page, "Even if I'm not on the ballot, it makes me feel so gangsta to know that MJ Hegar viewed my $0 candidacy as such a threat."
- Democrats Benefit from Republican Bill. HB 2504 passed through both houses of the Legislature on a strict party-line vote, with all Democrats voting Nay. Democrats, understandably suspicious of the Republicans' motivations, offered several amendments, all of which were voted down by the same party-line majorities. And yet, Democrats are now reaping the benefits of Greens' inability to scrape together the thousands of dollars required to get on the ballot under the provisions of that same bill.
- We're in the News! Up to now, the major news outlets in Texas had scarcely mentioned the Green Party in 2020. The Chronicle gave us some ink last year, thanks to the passage of HB 2504 and the federal suit filed last July. But nary a word about the results of our state and national conventions. Thanks to the Democrats' legal challenge, we actually got our name in the paper (at least the virtual paper) and on the radio: I sat for an interview with David Davies of Texas Public Radio for its program Texas Matters (will link later).
- Why Not Hassle the Libertarians Too? If the Democrats are so concerned about following the law, why didn't they go after the Libertarians? As the Houston Chronicle reported yesterday (paywall), "Fifty-three of 70 Libertarian candidates have paid theirs." That means that 17 did not. More Libertarian candidates than the Green Party even fielded this year would not or could not pony up to run for office. They get a pass, apparently. But the Democrats don't really care about the law. As Davies told me during our interview, "It's politics."—as if I didn't know after observing Texas politics for more than 40 years.
Perhaps to be continued. I'm gonna put this story to bed now and start fixing dinner. Later I plan to conduct some research into the Libertarian candidates for US Senate and Texas Railroad Commission.