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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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43 Responses

  1. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    I mean, the simple answer is when you have to only win 40 or so percent of the vote to win an election because of a third party, you can get away with a ton more. It’s that last five to ten percent that keeps the GOP from going completely off the rails.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    As I understand it, LePage comes from the more extreme and adamant parts of the Tea Party movement. He is also willing to say the silent bits outloud and seems willing to see his governorship as a way of enriching himself and his family and holding vendettas against real and imagined opponents. He comes from the section of the Republican right that honestly believes the Democratic Party is not legitimate, liberalism is a threat to freedom*, and real Americans are white and rural. Think of him like Rob Ford for Maine.

    Jesse has it right on how he got reelected. A rich guy ran a third party campaign as a vanity project and was able to take enough votes from the Democratic candidate that LePage won reelection. LePage is taking a school from the Karl Rove playbook and treating the narrow victory as a huge mandate. He basically won by the crazificayion factor.

    A few days ago I read an article on how increased polarization is destroying all the old rules of politics. Politicians manage to be massively unpopular in their home districts and states but keep winning reelection by playing to committed ideologues. It would have been unthinkable a while ago that people like Sam Brownback or Rick Scott could get reelected with massively unpopular decisions.Report

  3. The SCM believes that the US government is a bunch of gits that practice subversion, and needs to be overthrown perforce.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    My, but Downeasters must be so very proud today!

    As I understand it, LePage is where he is because of a three-way party split cause by Tea Party folks breaking away from mainstream Republicans, which is as good an argument as any that I can think of in favor of a two-party system with strong party discipline.

    And as good an argument as I can think of for Democrats looking at a similar fissure occurring in their own states or even, absit locutus, nationally, to not rest on their laurels and simply assume that a split of the opposition vote will result in their own gal winning the plurality.

    The real question is why would the Downeaster Tea Party have a guy like this as its leading light? They’ve got a particular set of ideological parameters, which is one thing, but not keeping the paranoia element in check and turning a blind eye to the obvious abuses of power which the Tea Party was supposed to be objecting to is something else.

    Well, other states have survived nutballs as governors before. I mean, look at Louisiana. So Maine will get through this too.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I reject saying that what the area Party says they stand for is what they actually stand for. They have shown themselves to be rather fond of conspiracy theories from 2010. Agenda 21 being a prime example.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Do I want to know what Agenda 21 is? Will that knowledge make me any happier?

        …I doubt it.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Agenda 21 was a non-binding UN resolution about sustainable growth and ecology. It became a fever dream for the right wing on the UN takeover of Ametica and forced bike paths or something like that.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Well the actual Agenda 21 is just a UN document that emerged from the Earth Summit in 1992. It’s a non-binding sustainable development plan.

          Then there’s what the conspiracy crackpots think it is, for which you’d have to wade through pages and pages of whack-a-doodle text with multi-page paragraphs, sentences without discernable subjects, predicates, or objects, heavy use of all caps, and even then you might come away none the wiser.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to dragonfrog says:

            To add to that:

            As Fred Clark persistently reminds us in his deconstruction of “Left Behind”, a huge proportion of right-wing crank fantasies can’t be understood without constantly reminding ourselves that these guys (the conspiracists) really believe that the UN is like the Federation in Star Trek.

            Its laws and rulings supersede those of member nations, its military arm is used to enforce its policies without regard to territoriality, and the Secretary-General is not a glorified bureaucrat who has trouble getting the UN translators to stay awake during speeches, but a God-Emperor who is the single most powerful being on the planet.

            So Agenda 21 isn’t fart-in-the-wind wishcasting that they might be able to help someone, somewhere, avoid avoidable mistakes. It’s a blueprint for violations of sovereignty on a massive scale, to be implemented by blue-helmeted force of arms.Report

        • Avatar Zac in reply to Burt Likko says:

          It’s just one more flavor in the Neapolitan ice cream that is right-wing conspiracy-mongering.Report

    • Avatar dexter in reply to Burt Likko says:

      @burt-likko, Yeah, but we are finally finished with our most recent “nutball”, voted against diaper boy and elected a very conservative democrat, so things are improving a tad.
      Soon to be ex-governor Jindal and his very serious delusion that he would someday be president will soon be gone. The last time Jindal was elected, he received 65% of the vote which sounds impressive until you notice that only 36% of the people voted.
      Totally off subject, but how big a deal is that blowout?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to dexter says:

        Not sure what blowout you’re referring to, @dexter . Jindal’s? It gives him a degree of street cred.Report

        • Avatar dexter in reply to Burt Likko says:

          @burt-likko ,Sorry to be so vague. The blowout I was asking about is the huge methane leak that I thought was in your area.
          As far as Jindal having cred, I really don’t think he will ever be elected to anything again. Vikram may disagree with me, but I think Jindal did a great deal of damage here while using our state as a stepping stone for his failed bid to be president.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman says:

    As I mention above, it’s not clear that it was the third-party candidate who threw the election. If we assume a Nader-like distribution, where 60% support the Democrat, 30% stay home, and 10% support the Republican… LePage wins.

    If there is an IRV setup and more of the participants have to choose, you might get enough to result in a Mike Michaud (D) victory. He would have had to win roughly 79% of the Cutler (I) vote if we count every vote.Report

  6. Avatar Will H. says:

    Stereotypes thrive on ignorance, and are challenged by adequate information.
    Separation has been something of a class distinction for awhile now, which constricts the flow of information.

    From the ignorant, to the ignorant, with the added factor of unsavory connotations for those in disagreement.
    Not really what I would call a recipe for good governance, but it does seem to be a fairly astute electoral strategy.Report

  7. Avatar pillsy says:

    Maybe Paul LePage is the New England’s answer to Tom Ford, and he’s smoking crack in office. It would explain why he knows D-Money’s routine so well.Report

  8. How flattering to be called out by name. I fear you’ll find my insights disappointing, however. In the parlance of the region, I’m “from away,” so take anything I say about Maine with a grain of salt.

    First of all, we got stuck with LePage in the first place because of a split in the non-GOP vote in 2010. Maine has a pretty robust history of voting for Independent candidates (witness the success of Angus King), and LePage was elected when a relatively weak Democratic candidate and a relatively strong Independent one ran against him the first time around. With that, he had the power of the incumbency.

    And that’s all it took. I think nobody needs reminding of the success a certain xenophobic real estate heir is having in the current primary race. Does anyone doubt that his success is because he is validating the fears and resentments of his fans?

    When LePage makes his comments about (let’s just be honest with ourselves) black drug dealers impregnating white girls, he’s giving voice to the same fears and resentments. When I saw this morning that a black man from New York had been arrested in South Portland for selling heroin, I rolled my eyes because that is sure to justify for LePage supporters the supposed honesty of his little slip of the tongue. Never mind that in an overwhelmingly white state the drug dealers are also overwhelmingly white. Resentments need not be anchored in reality.

    Finally, keep in mind that Maine elects its governors in non-Presidential off cycles. Which tend to favor conservative candidates. So LePage need not do all that much better than Trump with his share of the electorate to win. Which he did.

    Also read this by Jamelle Bouie.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Paging Dr. Saunders,
    The Maine Explorer
    Did someone call me schnorer?
    Horray Horray HorrayReport