A new election season is approaching in Sullivan County where a number of local officials stand for reelection and many of them will seek to have their names on a number of lines on the ballots.
On the face, the Good Old Boys would want you to think that The NYS Conservative Party is a major player in politics when it comes to giving candidates their line.
For example, recently, the Sullivan County Democrat ran an article “Conservatives’ backing coveted” where the reader was left with the impression that all county officials and candidates just can’t win without the Sullivan County Conservative Party’s endorsement.
“From town highway superintendents to supervisors to seeker of county-or even state-offices, everyone wants to be friends with the Sullivan County Conservative Party during election year.”
Poppycock. The truth is that the Conservative Party’s influence has been declining both statewide and in Sullivan County over the last decade, with less and less voters both registering and voting as conservatives.
In terms of true conservatism, and we are talking Burke, Buckley, Goldwater and Reagan, they don’t even have a clue about how to push a conservative-libertarian agenda that seeks a return to small government, unobtrusive government, and protection of constitutional rights. And in terms of local issues, have you heard boo recently from the local Conservative party about the terrible SAFE act? About how bad county government functions? About how Sullivan County has become a welfare state?
The Sullivan County Conservative Party is a dying party that cares more to hold a big fundraiser once a year rather than nurture and support truly conservative causes and candidates for office. Statewide, the party is an obstructionist, homophobic, anti-abortionist clan that hurts any Republican effort to push back against the overwhelming Democratic dominance in Albany, opposes casino gaming and that fails miserably to effectively push a truly economic conservative agenda in the most liberal state in the nation.
In terms of county government, where once the county chairman of the Conservative Party was a vocal advocate of true small government and wasteful spending, and spent his time attending meetings and berating officials who did not act truly conservative, the Conservative Party now a days is a paper tiger.
You don’t hear “boo” from County Conservative Party Chairman Steve Burke about how badly dysfunctional our county and town governments are, how high taxes are, how unfriendly the business climate is in Sullivan County, and how actually “liberal” many of the candidates, act that the party endorses in local and state elections. Steve Burke is no Edmund Burke, that’s for sure.
New York State is kind of unique because they don’t have to run just as a Republican or Democrat or just be limited to run on a minor party line alone.
That’s really good for candidates. It allows people who are diehard Republicans or Democrats to comfortably come off those lines and vote for the candidate of the other major party.
These days, the Conservative Party of Sullivan County is just another line, like the Independence Party, the Green Party, or even the Communist Party. Votes from their line only matter in very close elections.
So if local candidates attend the yearly fundraiser, like a lot did recently, they may get that line.
Candidates may give lip service to the party, but in actuality, it is a minor, insignificant player in local politics.
Unlike in the 20th century, most, if not all could get reelected without their support.
And unlike in the past where leaders were tough advocates of conservative causes and kept on politicians to stick to conservative issues, nowadays, they play the game and keep their mouths shut.
They are much like their arch enemies at the Liberal Party, which, without the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon as issues, has basically kicked the bucket too.
So when you read the headlines proclaiming how significant the Conservative Party is here locally, don’t believe what you are reading, particularly when the paper is named after a liberal political party in the first place.