Welcome to our second round of “Liberal Whine About Cutler” day, where registered Democrats endlessly cry about Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler. Unsurprisingly, the spoiler card is being waved around in the aftermath of Mike Michaud meeting the same fate as Libby Mitchell.
Did Cutler have a chance? In all fairness, not at all. He wasn’t going to ever win. Given the zero chance of victory, should Cutler had dropped out? No. Period.
The problem with the Michaud camp is as time went by, it became increasingly clear that their priorities were not about improving Maine. The campaign has been a personal war against Governor Paul LePage and Cutler supporters have suffered their wrath for voting their conscience.
This occurred in 2012 on the other side of the fence, when President Barack Obama won re-election over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Though statistically Romney could not have won, his supporters still to this day blame libertarians for dividing the vote by voting for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson or writing in former Congressman Ron Paul.
When will political parties stop refusing to take ownership for their faults and take a thorough look at why they are failing?
The Democratic Party might learn something by asking themselves why Cutler supporters refused to join the collective army against Governor LePage. Similarly, the Republican Party might have learned something had they asked why the “Stop Obama” rallying call didn’t bring in the libertarian base behind Mitt Romney.
A Senator Angus King sell-out endorsement didn’t sway the Independents, just like a Senator Rand Paul endorsement didn’t sway libertarians on Romney. But the idea that political endorsements do have some sort of magical powers over registered voters is an insult.
The reason a Senator King endorsement didn’t work is because the Independent voters of Maine aren’t a single entity, as opposed to the Republicans and Democrats who are their own teams. Independents are individual thinkers who don’t see themselves as being compatible with either establishment and thus opt to be unenrolled.
Senator King isn’t an Independent in the sense that he thinks independently as an individual who makes his decisions based on a set of principles. He is instead a political opportunist who will bend in the wind to cater to the favor of a perceived prevailing party.
Cutler supporters obviously don’t subscribe to the same political approach as Senator King, as they stuck with their candidate through the end. Their ballots were more than just ammunition for a blue cannon of spite, they were actual voices. This is why when it became obvious Cutler had no chance, Cutler supporters still stuck by him.
Why is that?
Maine political analysts are going to be ignoring this question, which is a trend every election cycle involving a major third party candidate. Republicans will be celebrating Governor LePage’s re-election and Democrats will be busy blaming Cutler, and Cutler supporters will be without a political home as they are falsely blamed for last night’s results.
To be clear, it is not Eliot Cutler’s fault that Governor LePage won. Statistics may make a valid argument for the Spoiler card to be played, but politicians and their respective establishments need to stop treating voters as mindless drones. Unless Democrats personally know every single Mainer who filled in Cutler’s bubble on their ballot, they cannot legitimately say that Cutler spoiled the election.
These people voted for Eliot Cutler because Eliot Cutler was their candidate, just as Paul LePage supporters voted for Paul LePage because he was their candidate. Democrats would have voted for the dog catcher if he was the guy against the Governor, because they weren’t in a race to advance principles or a leader, they just had an agenda against one person.
And as a result, Governor LePage is preparing for his next term. If you’re unhappy with these results, blame the Democratic Party.