Neither McCain nor Obama Filed Proper Papers for Texas Ballot

Now what?

For anyone who has missed this bit of lovely schadenfreude, Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party has filed suit in Texas to strike both John McCain and Barrack Obama from the Texas ballot this November.

The reason? Per Texas law, a candidate must file proof of certification of their candidacy prior to a deadline of seventy days before the election date. Which was Aug. 26. A date, you may note, which precedes the date at which either major party had had their nominating conventions. Which would seem to most unbiased observers to be the point at which a candidate could claim to be officially, and certifiably, the candidate of their party.

The Texas Secretary of State has already said that he was satisfied that the two campaigns in question met the intent of the law, and saw no problem with the campaigns having their ballot positions. But, anyone who has followed third party campaigns at all in the past knows that such goodwill and reasonableness never attends a third party candidacy. When dealing with anyone but the Dems or the Repubs the courts have time and time again demanded that every jot and tittle be properly filed, or else.

IMNSHO it would be sauce for the gander to see it happen to the Republicans and the Democrats. (And about as likely as a blizzard on the fourth of July in Washington, D.C.) Hell’s bells, I still recall the way that the Republican national committee fought tooth and nail to keep John McCain off the primary ballot here in NY in 2000.

This issue, to my mind, is a far more important and more infuriating issue than any complaints about the Electoral College can ever be. Whether one likes the EC or not, there hasn’t been a recent charge that the EC doesn’t follow its own rules. Whereas the bullying by the Democrats and the Republicans proceeds apace across the nation - to the extent that third party candidacies are routine scrutinized to a degree reserved for criminal complaints. And in some states the major parties don’t even have to file any paperwork for their candidate’s ballot line. (NY, I’m looking at you.) Ideally, whatever court Bob Barr gets will side with his arguments, and throw both Barrack Obama and John McCain off the Texas ballot. In reality, I expect the court to hand down a decision that goes something like this:

Let me note that said chastisement will not cost either campaign a penny beyond the fees for the lawyers to get up in court and argue “You can’t take the right of Americans to vote Demlican from them!” All in the name of freedom of choice, and retaining the franchise for the voters. Mind your step for all the fertilizer falling from that line of reasoning, which has never been a consideration when dealing with Green, Libertarian or other third party candidacies.

Per this Daily Kos piece, there’s even some room to question whether a write-in candidacy for McCain would be legal.

I’m not thrilled by Barrack Obama as a candidate. But I’m scared by McCain, and Palin is even worse. The idea of McCain losing Texas’ Electoral College votes is just too amusing, anyways. It won’t happen, but I do like the little moment of fantasy.

Let’s remember that ultimately the rules for seating electors are set by state legislatures - and in an emergency (or even without) they can constitutionally just vote in a slate of electors themselves without even holding a pesky election at all.

The Legislature in Texas is pretty solidly controlled by a particular party, especially in the Senate, and is a strong legislature. How far do you think this will go?

I thought it was clear in my OP that I don’t expect anything to happen except a blatant underlining of the current election hypocracy: i.e. rules matter, but not for the Republican or Democratic parties. Some pigs being more equal than others and all that.

As long as we’re fantasizing, I’d like to see Barr rebuked and fined for filing frivolous lawsuits and attempting to subvert the electoral process. This is the guy that sued a church for hosting a debate between the two men who actually might become president of the United States without turning it into a soapbox for fringe politicians.

I’d like to see the textualist crowd defend the dismissal of the lawsuit :rolleyes:

You have not noted that the Texas legislature meets only in odd-numbered years. Otherwise, it would have to be called into session by the governor, Rick Perry. Obviously if Obama and McCain WERE tossed off the ballot, I think slick hair Rick would manage to call a session to resolve the problem. Still, it wouldn’t be such a simple a process as you make it sound.

There was no opinion, nor commentary offered by the Texas Supreme Court when it denied Barr’s petition.
Somehow I doubt that this court will be so quiet should it ever be asked to rule on similar infractions by a third party. But at least, now, we can say there’s no fig leaf for the campaign laws hypocracy.
If I were a Texas voter, I’d be furious - If the Court is going to ignore the letter of the law, I want to at least be entertained by some legal and semantic gymnastics, dammit.

I’m sorry, I know this is picky, but it’s “Barack.” The guy’s name is in the papers almost every day.

It’s a fair cop. I paid too much attention, while writing the OP, to the spell checking.

This says a lot more about Barr than McCain or Obama.

I would argue that it says more about the unfair stranglehold that the two major parties have on our political process. Barr knows what its like for a third party, the two major parties should have to follow the law just as much as Barr does.
I do not see how any one can say this is a frivolous law suit, clearly this was a viable law suit that is not being heard because the Texas courts are controlled by the two parties.

If a third party has to follow the rules, the big two should too. I want to see Obama win, but that doesn’t mean I support discrimination against the smaller parties.

Its the deadline factor that makes me think it is frivolous. If I read it right the first time… they were supposed to have formally done this and that before they were formally nominated. wtf?

On the other hand, I do have sympathy for the plight of the ‘third’ parties in this country, and wish that Barr/Nader/etc were more included. This seems like a shady way to go about it though.

That’s correct. But whose fault is it that they weren’t formally nominated in time? They didn’t have to schedule their conventions after the Olympics, did they?

And even if they wanted to keep their nominations right where they were, they apparently could have filed something before the deadline and then amended it once they had their actual candidates.

It’s silly paperwork, but it’s silly paperwork that they could have complied with without having to change anything around, and it’s silly paperwork that third parties wouldn’t have a choice about.

Did they file the silly paperwork after the conventions? Assuming they did, they are complying with the spirit of the thing. They are guilty of missing a deadline due to their convention plans. Who else sincerely thinks Texas should not get to vote for Obama or McCain this year because of their disrespect for the timing of the paperwork? Bob Barr and who?

I understand that the Rs and Ds are big time dicks about third party access, and he is justifiably bent out of shape, but this just makes him look foolish IMO. Trying to play their game and getting all the slime with none of the impact. I’d rather see him fighting to get into the debates. I thought it was pretty cool when Ralph made a scene of that in 2004(?). I guess this is his way of making some noise though. More power to him I suppose.

As an aside, how many ballots is he on this year?

They missed the deadline, due to convention plans that they set. The republican and democrats could of had their convention prior to this date so they could be on the ballot. They did not, so they should not be on the ballot. What is the spirit of this law?

They failed to live up to the law their names should not be on the ballot. period.

We are a country based on law, lets see it lived up too.

I don’t foresee this getting any traction, but I wouldn’t mind much if it did. I believe that laws should be followed, or if the laws are unfair, then changed. I’m sure McCain feels the same way: Texas represents 34 electoral votes that the McCain campaign simply cannot afford to let slip away to a legal challenge.

Removing Texas from the election means Obama only needs 253 electoral votes to win. Assuming Obama takes WA, OR, CA, HI, MN, IL, MI, NY, ME, RI, CT, VT, NJ, DE, DC, MA and MD, he’d have 217. That means he’d win outright if only he wins Ohio and Pennsylvania. (or some combination of 36 electoral votes — a mere 27% of the 132 votes up for grabs, excluding Texas). He could concentrate his remaining advertising and campaigning into two states.

Contrariwise, assuming McCain has AK, AZ, UT, ID MT, WY, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, WV, KY, and IN, he’d only have 155 electoral votes. He’d need OH, PA, VA, FL, MO, and IA to win (or some combination of 98 votes, representing 74% of the 132 votes up for grabs). McCain would have to bust his hump to get out the vote in so many places at once.

With Texas in the race, Obama needs 53 of the remaining 132 votes (40%) and McCain would need 81 votes (61% of those remaining). McCain’s campaign has no choice but to fight this for both of them — with both candidates afoul of the same law they can’t reasonably argue that McCain should be allowed on the ballot and Obama omitted — and they’re going to have to foot the bill for it, too. A lawsuit in Texas is just an expensive distraction for McCain’s campaign, further diluting the money he could spend in 6 or more states.

I’m not sure how “I believe that there should be one rule for everybody” (Barr) says either more or less about him than “I believe that there should be one rule for us and another rule for everybody else” (McCain and Obama).

Of course, the nature of what it says is rather more positive in the former case, but the degree to which it says something seems to be about the same.

The real issue here is that following the letter of the law will essentially disenfranchise Texan citizens. Which is pretty bad, when you get down to it. Might even be federally illegal.