Ken Block seems to be on a mission to distract Rhode Island from issues that actually matter to our economy. This week it’s the master lever again. Last week it was temporary disability insurance. The week before that it was food stamp fraud.
What these issues all have in common, besides being among Block’s favorite things to talk about, is they will each have less effect on Rhode Island’s economy than debating calamari or passing marriage equality.
It’s enough to suspect that Block’s off-year political strategy is to grandstand on issues that don’t really matter all that much, just so he can question the integrity of anyone who doesn’t agree with him.
Consider what he wrote on Facebook about Sen. Stephen Archambault’s decision not to join his anti-master lever mob:
Pathetic. Smithfield Senator Stephen R. Archambault tells Ian Donnis that he is not in favor of eliminating the Master Lever – calling the effort to ban the Lever a ‘minority push to level the playing field’. This means he doesn’t want to get rid of the Lever because it disadvantages certain candidates! When will our legislators start legislating for the common good, instead of their own self-interest?
There’s great irony in this. Does this mean those who favor getting rid of the master lever do so because that advantages certain candidates? After all, if it’s in the majority party’s interest to keep the master lever doesn’t that mean it’s in the minority party’s interest to do away with it?
It’s fair to wonder whether Senator Archambault or anyone else is putting their own self interest before the common good. But I think the better question is whether Ken Block is trying to legislate it away for is own self-interest rather than the common good.
From my vantage point, doing away with the master lever seems like a fine idea. I just don’t think it will have any real effect on elections. (If I did, it would be a no-brainer for me as it would probably benefit the kind of anti-establishment candidates I tend to like best!) But my guess is most people who pull the lever will simply vote straight party the long way – with some instead voting for candidates with surnames similar to their own.
Some may also vote for a so-called “Moderate” Party candidate thinking that the name implies the candidate is indeed moderate. My informal polling tells me most people who understand electoral politics AND aren’t trying to hamstring Democrats agree.