Democrat Independent Lincoln Chafee Speaking At DNC
Ted Nesi reported that Governor Lincoln Chafee will get a prime time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention next week. I think that’s great that Rhode Island democrats will finally get some recognition and our governor is being honored in such a way. Wait, what? Chafee’s not a Democrat? Then why is he speaking that the Democratic National Convention? Does he want to be a Democrat? In my opinion, he should become one, and that’s not just snark, I have an actual reason behind it. I’ll get to that part later.
But back to Nesi’s story.
Chafee at one point is quoted as to say:
“President Obama has been a friend to Rhode Island…”
Really? What do the people of Cranston think about this “friend” who was in the area at the time of the Cranston floods, when people were losing their homes to the rising waters and our “friend” didn’t even have time to come to the state? It’s not like he had to go out of his way. He was already in southeastern Massachusetts that day.
“I think he’ll talk about the importance of collaboration and working across party lines to govern effectively,”
Which party lines? Shouldn’t you have to be a member of a party to work across party lines? And how exactly has he worked across the Republican party lines? If he’s going to tout how he’s been such an effective governor, I guess I can see why it might only be a seven minute speech. Hopefully there isn’t too much dead air time.
But anyway, back to the Chafee as a Democrat thing. Just this morning, Andrew Gobeil from WPRO tweeted:
Gov Chafee with us this morning. Are you going to join the Democratic Party? “Not at this point.”
Ok, fair enough, not yet, but maybe eventually. Here’s a rational reason why I think he should and will join.
To play defense.
Look at it this way, the Democrats have their “rising stars” and there’s much talk about who will be the Democratic nominee for Governor in two years. One, Ernie Almonte has already thrown his hat in the ring and we hear of Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo possibly also running for the seat. Any one of those people could possibly get the nomination and take out the party-less Chafee.
But what if Chafee does switch up his affiliation and declares himself a proud Democrat? Would the state Democratic party then actually turn their back on an incumbent Governor from their own party? Has that ever happened before? If a member of your party currently holds a seat and wants to keep it, will you actually say “No, this other person is better” and nominate someone else? That really runs the risk of losing the seat to a non-Democrat.
Of course all those people would still be able to run against Chafee in a primary, but would they? My thought is they would not and they’d concede the office to Chafee. This is why in my opinion, the smartest move politically going forward is for Linc Chafee to just complete the transformation and become a full-fledged Democrat.