When Republican voters in Cheshire County, NH, went to the polls last week, little did they know they would be the critical starting point for a national story that would spread like wildfire from an ocean. to the other.
At Cornerstone, a pro-family group in the Granite Stategot a glimpse of the notoriety to come the day after the primary as we started getting frantic calls and emails from our network.
And, what was it?
A self-proclaimed transsexual Satanic anarchist with the campaign slogan “F*** the police” had just won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Even as we write this, we are struggling to understand.
But those are the numbers faithfully recorded on the NH Secretary of State’s Excel spreadsheet. Aria DiMezzo, the only registered Republican candidate, left with the nomination by collecting 4,211 votes. Four write-in candidates, including the former Republican challenger, ended up with some of the remaining 657 votes.
This was not done under the table. Far from there.
Like DiMezzo wrote“It’s all here. None of this is a secret. I couldn’t have been more upfront about who I am or where I stand on things… None of you remember the six-year-old tranny feet tall who showed up to the sheriff and then to the city council?
We have to admit that Aria is right, especially when observed: “Really, whose fault is it? You know nothing about the people you vote for. You blindly vote for them because you trust the party, you trust the system.
We don’t blame the candidate. DiMezzo followed the rules and was free to run as a Republican. But there are a lot of criticisms to be made. Let’s count the paths:
There were no other Republican candidates. With the exception of written entries, Aria DiMezzo proceeded without any opposition. Voters who drew a Republican ballot could either vote for DiMezzo, write in a candidate, or leave it blank. Obviously, many voters voted for a candidate they knew nothing about.
Voters were not informed. We don’t know how to water it down, so we won’t. Even our Cornerstone team members admit to walking into a voting booth and encountering a race and candidate they know nothing about. But a vote is a vote and has the same weight as that of the most informed voter. Elections have consequences.
Trust was misplaced. You would think that because a candidate says they are Republican, Libertarian, or Democrat, they are and embrace the values of their declared party. No. If this should tell us anything, it’s that there is no litmus test for party affiliation.
We are too indifferent to local government. It’s easy to get sucked into national or statewide races, but we often have no idea who serves our cities and counties. Especially given our decentralized form of government, this is no small tragedy.
There is a silver lining here. DiMezzo’s outspokenness has lessons for all of us, and we should take them to heart. In addition to our (many) differences with the candidate’s views, we disagree on one critical point: the system may seem “broken”, but it is not beyond repair. As individuals and citizens, we can resolve to improve it now. Here’s how:
Consider running. Who holds each office or public position is important. Don’t wait for party organizations to do (or not do) the job. Ask yourself what you can do or help us identify the quality candidates we need to serve, candidates who actively share your values.
Inform yourself. Especially in these times, we cannot afford to elect candidates who do not represent us or our values. A quick look at Aria DiMezzo Facebook page Where to place would have been enough to make an informed decision. Discover our Legislative scoreboard 2019-2020 as a starting point. And, if you don’t know a candidate, don’t vote for them. It is better to leave it empty. If you don’t believe us, we have a story to tell you.
Vote for the best candidate. Often, we are faced with a choice of candidates, none of whom would be our ideal representative. As voters, we sometimes have to play defense. Ask yourself if there is anyone you really don’t want to represent, yourself or the community. Voting for the “best” candidate will help ensure that they don’t.
Vote for values rather than for the party. If this has taught us nothing, it is that partisan affiliation cannot be confused with the candidate or his values. Decide what is most important to you and assess your candidates accordingly. You’ll feel better about your vote, we promise.
Don’t stop at the polls. Many of us believe that our civic duty begins and ends at the ballot box. This is not the case. Those elected to serve us must hear from us throughout their term. Stay on top of issues, especially those most important to you, and make your voice heard. Your rep who agrees with you will have a welcome back up and the one who doesn’t will know you’re watching.
Long after this sensational story fades, the basic needs of our electoral system and our government will remain. Yes, the system was broken here. The strength and integrity of our government and our electoral process is only as strong as we are, and it was a “failure”.
But, this is good news. With shared corporate responsibility and investment, we can make it better and make sure it works for us. We cannot afford to sacrifice our precious freedoms on the altar of a single anarchist.
If you agree, what are you going to do?