The biggest winner in New York State politics today is the State Republican Party and, to a lesser extent, the State Conservative Party.
How can this be, you ask? (Keep reading.) And what does this have to do with the Tea Party movement? (Think analytically. I will connect the dots.)
That's because the StopCommonCore petition has over 100,000 signatures and will likely give Rob Astorino a third ballot line in November. In New York, voters can cross-endorse, so a candidate can be on multiple party ballot lines. The Republicans and Conservatives already endorsed Astorino and the third line supposedly will attract voters who just absolutely cannot bear to vote for Astorino when he is under the "Republican" ticket or the "Conservative" ticket.
As for incumbent Andrew Cuomo -- aka "Son of Sfacim" to you old Bob Grant radio fans -- he is on the Democratic ticket, barring a huge surprise from some leftist law professor aptly named Zephyr Teachout who has survived a court challenge to her claim of having been "domiciled" in the state for the required five years, and he is on the Working Families Party ticket (barring another primary upset from the same Teachout), and he is also going to be on the ballot line of the "Women's Equality Party."
How are the Republican and Conservative Parties winners? When Astorino trails by nearly 30 points (according to this morning's new Quinnipiac Poll results)? When incumbent Andrew Cuomo has a favorable rating of nearly 60%? When Astorino is most surely a lost cause?
It's because the SCC petition was not about helping Rob Astorino in any way.
It's because the object, the goal, is...not to win.
It was about diverting activist -- that is, tea party -- energies away from a protest third party, which could then run candidates in any election across the state for the next four years with just a handful of signatures. The protest movement could have thrown up its own candidate and qualified as a defined political party if the candidate got at least 50,000 votes. Instead, the Astorino-led pseudo party will in absolutely all likelihood decline to engage in the legal formalities needed after the general election to form a party even if it qualifies with the votes. That is because the ballot line is owned lock, stock and barrel by the Republican party establishment.
The result for the grass roots? It means that across all of New York State, protest candidates will have to collect hundreds or thousands of signatures, and survive court challenges, just to run in GOP primaries. Had there been an independent ballot line which turned into a political party through the process I just described, any protest candidates would get on the general election ballot, in all manner of county and state legislative races, in any election in the state, by just getting five percent of the voters enrolled in this new party. As a new party, that means five percent of an extremely low number! So a congressional candidate who otherwise would need 3,500 signatures could instead qualify with just a handful, literally just a few signatures.
This would have been a brilliant strategy. But leave it to the rank amateurs of the Tea Party -- that supposedly fearsome political force, if you listen to the pundits on MSNBC -- to kick this opportunity away.
The proof in the pudding is the committee on vacancies for the SCC petition, which is a who's who of state GOP consultants who are very experienced in, well, coming in second and trailing by substantial margins. This and other facts were ignored by many state "tea party" groups, of whom many are indeed run or controlled by so-called "antis" who really, secretly wish they were in the club but couldn't get through Pledge Week.
Anyone with half a brain could see this coming a mile away. This is why the most credible and legitimate tea party organizations in New York State, particularly ones in New York City and Long Island, stayed far away from this political Trojan Horse.
Even New Jersey governor Chris Christie, running the well-financed Republican Governors' Association, weighed in and knew enough to steer clear of a hopeless race.
The rest of the New York tea parties have been shown to be easily playable, a bunch of dupes, rubes and abject amateurs. Just in time to wear the colonial hats and be caricatures in funny costumes at the country fairs and Oktoberfests.