The Georgia 6th Congressional District Race will go down as the most expensive Congressional race in US History. Not because of the impact that the winner will have. It will take years and years for that winner, if they stay in office, to amass the type of seniority and power to really make a difference.
There are no close votes in the US Congress that are going to be decided by 1 vote either. Instead, this is about appearances. It’s an opportunity for both national parties (who really could care less about us here locally) to symbolically suggest that the winner of this race somehow proves or disproves the election of one Donald Trump.
Making this race even more enticing is the number in front of the district: the 6th. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich once held the same seat number. But the district is far removed physically from the same turf Gingrich represented. Nevertheless the media has worked overtime to say just how symbolic a democrat in that seat would be.
As a Libertarian, neither of these two candidates are what I seek in an elected official. There were several of the 19 candidates that were as close to being what I sought without running myself. But we must be honest. Before the first votes were cast, the Republican Party leadership was already shaping the minds of the electorate as to who they should support.
An open election such as this would normally be a Libertarian’s dream come true. An opportunity to participate in an open election without the ballot restrictions. And were it not the 6th Congressional District, and it was not immediately after Trump’s election, things could have been a lot different.
Congressman Tom Price owned the seat. In years past there have been no serious efforts by members of either party to unseat Tom Price. That is the power of being an incumbent. With incumbency comes money, power, and influence.
That’s also why you saw the mad scramble, mostly from Republicans in office who resigned to run, and those who had been in offices before, and saw this opportunity as the chance of a lifetime.
Due to ballot access restrictions in Georgia during the regular election cycle, Libertarians cannot generally meet the incredibly high number of signatures needed to be on the ballot, which is something the other two parties do not even worry about.
As a Libertarian, I feel that shows clearly that something is wrong with the system. But, as a Libertarian, I am still entitled to vote for either of the two candidates remaining.
So do I vote for John Ossoff, the Democrat, to send the Republicans a message that they need to offer us true Constitutional candidates? And then work to get a Libertarian on the ballot in 2018?
Or do I vote for Karen Handel, and give the Republicans another candidate who may likely have the seat for as long as she may want it?
No, I do not think I will do either. I am going to vote for None of The Above(NOTA). NOTA is really the only option for me, other than not voting. And I will be voting.
Definitely Ossoff or Handel is going to win on June 18th. But there is only one way for those of us out there who are unhappy with both candidates to express our displeasure in a way that can be measured.
Imagine if 20,000 or more voters, unhappy with their choice of candidates, voted NOTA. Would both parties get the message? What if the race is so close, that one of those two parties learns that there is a group of voters out there that are being ignored that could have changed the outcome? Will they try to appeal to us in the future? Will they offer us better choices as candidates in the future?
It’s up to us to make our voices heard. And we will not be heard if we just fall in line and support the (insert your party name here) because the other party is much worse.
While we are at it, let’s work together to end the restrictive ballot access issues third parties have in Georgia. We are only cheating ourselves by eliminating competition before it even has a chance to be heard.
Is there anything less American than denying a candidate an opportunity to run for office because of their party, except in an open election?
As a reminder, both the US Constitution and the Georgia Constitution promise equal treatment under the law. Every elected official has taken an oath to uphold that. Isn’t it time they do what they promised they would and treat us all equally?