Voting While Ignorant

I admit I've enjoyed the hubbub caused by the Republicans in Congressional District 7, who chose whackadoo/admitted racist Joe Sweeney over Lou Muñoz in the primary.

I find this amusing, in part, because Sweeney has about as much chance of beating Raul Grijalva as I do, and I'm not running. I also find it amusing because of the ludicrous ways people have tried to spin the shocking 70-30 win by Sweeney.

Some folks, on the far left side of the spectrum, have pointed to this as evidence that the majority of Republicans in CD7 are racist cretins who hate all Mexicans. Some, on the right side of the spectrum, have tried to legitimize Sweeney by saying he's really not a racist (when, in fact, he admitted to this very newspaper that he IS A RACIST).

It's Grijalva--who refuses to debate Sweeney because he's a loon (my word, not Grijalva's)--and the wiser GOP folks who are refusing to endorse Sweeney who have it right. They also know one big thing, although they'd never say it publicly: Far too many people enter voting booths without any idea what they're doing.

This reminds me of something I covered about two years ago, when I was a political reporter in Las Vegas. About a month before the election, Richard Gardner, a Republican Assembly candidate--who had won a primary and had some momentum--was revealed to be a convicted sex offender, for "lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under the age of 14." This made big news, meriting coverage in all the major newspapers and all the TV news broadcasts.

On Election Day, the convicted child molester lost--but he still got 34 percent of the vote.

Sweeney won for one reason: Clueless voters recognized his name from his perennial candidacies. That's it. And anyone who tells you otherwise is just as clueless.

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