partybossThe greatest insult to an American flag isn’t burning it. Far more shocking is when someone you trusted—in this country—in a position of power metaphorically wipes their backside with it, right in front of you, as if you wouldn’t notice. This is what a group of key Republicans did when they sabotaged the open election process. Sadly, though ethically questionable, what they did was legal.

With a general election looming, the question persists: should you trust any of the first-degree hypocrites associated with rigging Klamath’s primary election?

As history reflects, the trick that Senator Doug and House Representative Gail Whitsett pulled should earn them the label of traitors to the democratic process. There were other benefactors in league, including Eric Reschke and Dennis Linthicum. Also implicated is Tom Mallams, by way of his membership in their ultra-conservative posse and general coup to control the upper echelons of he Klamath political scene (Doug Whitsett’s campaign fund has made many contributions to Mallams).

Here is an article covering what they did. (We were forced to reference media outside of Klamath to find unbiased reporting, as this political coup subsidizes the local paper with so much advertising, the paper is understandably reticent to report such blatant transgressions, lest they lose revenue).

Every Klamath resident should be outraged by this. These actions again verify the character of the individuals this website has been warning everyone about from the beginning.

Consider the sequence of events:

  1. January 2016, Doug and Gail Whitsett both file for re-election, discouraging anyone from running for their house and senate seats.
  2. March 7, 2016: Eric Reschke and Dennis Linthicum file for the house and senate seats (the day before the filing deadline).
  3. March 8, 2016, 5pm: filing deadline.
  4. March 9, 2016: Doug and Gail Whitsett announced withdrawing from the election, handing the election to the only two people who filed.

It’s nearly impossible to unseat incumbents in Klamath’s House and Senate districts. Everyone knows this, so when an incumbent seeks re-election, good candidates who would otherwise seek office bow out. Klamath is predominantly Republican, so Democrats rarely dare to engage in a futile bid for office when an incumbent is running. The system was designed for fair and open elections, but once in office, the people who make laws ensure there are ways to game the system. In Klamath, the game favors Republicans and only a few select Republicans at that.

When an incumbent can effectively choose their replacement, it is NOT democracy, it is monarchy. You could also call it fascism, which is even truer in political seats where Republicans seem to exert external control and will break their own rules to manipulate their ranks. (Fascism is what Nazis did, BTW).

Is it any wonder so many people that side with Republicans because of gun ownership rights, smaller government, and lower taxes have gone rogue to support outsiders such as Trump for president? This sort of nonsense is exactly why. The old guard cronyism within the Republican party is both distasteful and corrupt. There is no moral high ground when you engage in rigging elections. If democracy and liberty are core values, in what universe can any sane person justify damning the open political election process by choosing a successor and then manipulating the system to ensure that successor is chosen by default?

The Whitsetts didn’t come up with this devious tactic on their own: Senator Harper taught it to them, which is how Doug Whittset came to office in the first place.

LESSON FROM HARPER

Though not as extreme as the shuffle the Whitsetts just pulled, incumbent Senator Harper deployed a similar scheme in 2004. He held back announcing whether he would seek re-election until close to the filing deadline. Harper had already chosen his successor, but was telling everyone he wasn’t endorsing any candidates. Then Harper suddenly endorsed Whitsett when others filed to run for office. Even more damaging, Harper allocated almost all of his remaining campaign funding war-chest to Whitsett, giving Whitsett an immediate pool of funds for advertising and a head start on fundraising.

Note: people in office are banned from taking campaign contributions with them. They must donate the funds and most often they donate to other politicians with whom they are friends.

The incumbent funding angle is just as harmful as lying about, or withholding re-election intentions. Special interest groups tend to place their bets with winners and winning has nothing to do with intelligence or a platform that reflects the local constituency. In the current political climate—even in Klamath—winners are decided from endorsements and matching funds. Not so ironically, the candidate with the most money tends to attract more and larger special interest contributions. Why would they waste money on the side that doesn’t have enough money to win? Special interests buy favors with their contributions, so they donate to campaigns that don’t even need the money.

No politician that wins office is seriously interested in campaign reform. It’s all about the power to retain the seats and name a successor. Fed up with the situation, in the 90s Oregonians passed a referendum for term limits in the House and Senate, but those in charge found loopholes that led to the referendum being tossed out. Not surprisingly, the Oregon Legislature never wrote any new rules reflecting the will of the people evidenced through that referendum.

WHAT LEGACY?

You can understand why someone like Reagan would take actions (though not as questionable, he liked libaries) to protect his legacy. After all, he introduced philosophies like “Reaganomics” and was famous for many other very clear political brands.

In contrast, what is the legacy the Whitsett’s are associated with that is so damned important and essential to maintain at all costs? What is it that was so important that called for rigging the election?

As far as anyone can tell, the Whitsett’s legacy constitutes not accomplishing anything significant. They blocked the CUB Power project that could have created jobs in Klamath and fixed lower electricity rates for farmers while freeing up new deep aquifer water for irrigation. They voted down a lot of legislation. They gave the Oregon State Police more money to add patrols that ended up writing tourists more tickets. The irrigation situation failed to improve while they were in office. Klamath’s economy hasn’t improved in any way since 2008, and nothing Doug Whitsett did prior to that had any impact on growth. If anything his first four years helped kill future economic expansion. Whitsett was happy to give government millions for state police, but was against efforts to fund economic development that would have aided Klamath. There’s only one possible legacy left to consider: ensuring that the most damning ultra-conservatives replace them. Well, that’s not really THEIR legacy; it is the Klamath Republicans’ legacy. The Whitsett’s have no legacy, except for harming democracy on the way out of office.

FINAL WORDS ON HYPOCRISY

These people Klamath elected to the House and Senate, who in some elections ran unopposed simply by announcing their intent to seek re-election; these people who have hundreds of times saluted the American flag while pledging to defend the republic and all for which it stands (meaning primarily open democracy); in their final electoral act, these people wrapped themselves in the American patriotic cloak and symbol of justice and acted diametrically against the core ideals of this country and all it stands for.

Lacking champions to fix the system from within, the only option citizens have left is to be diligent to vote against incumbents (and successors chosen by incumbents). Failing to do so further desecrates the American ideal.

Now you are left with this, Klamath citizens:

Two candidates who were in collusion to rig the election anticipate you will support them. If you don’t vote, you support them just as much as if you do vote for them. The challenge now is for one strong independent (not many) to step forward. More than one independent vying for office prior to the general election will dilute the alternative votes too much and these mini-Nixons will still win.

Please everyone, for your own sakes, pass it forward.