Using Their Own Tools Against the Levers of Power
Ed Achorn offers an excellent suggestion:
Maybe Republicans should exploit the master lever to throw a scare into the legislature.
They could point out that, under the utter domination of one party in the General Assembly, Rhode Island has lost tens of thousands of jobs, fueling an unemployment rate of about 13 percent, while that in nearby New Hampshire is only 7 percent; that the state has become a small copy of Michigan, with boarded-up neighborhoods and foreclosed homes; that unsustainably generous benefits for politically powerful public-employee unions threaten Rhode Island with financial catastrophe; that the state’s business climate is the worst in America, according to Forbes magazine, even below Michigan’s (New Hampshire leads New England); that the Assembly-controlled state budget has exploded 47 percent since 2003, almost three times the rate of inflation and many times the rate of income growth of most Rhode Island families, while property taxes have skyrocketed.
They could argue that citizens could easily “send a message” against this record with one-stop shopping, and rock the State House to the core with a single mark on the ballot, choosing the opposition party. That would filter down to every legislative race. (No further thinking required.)
Actually, it would be an excellent idea were the Republicans able to promise candidates in key races. John Loughlin’s current General Assembly seat looks likely to be available for a Democrat to stroll on in, just as Jay Edwards did upon Joe Amaral’s retirement during the last election cycle in North Tiverton, There’s also the complication of the Moderate Party and any independent candidates who might emerge.
But leave that all up to the other parties and candidates. An “anyone but” campaign might be just what the lazy, apathetic electorate needs.