Apologies for the provocative title. “Loser” is a derogatory term that implies bad things about a human being, none of which I would ever think to apply to someone I don’t know personally, especially not someone like Hawkins who is dedicated to providing alternative ideas and points of view at election time. However, it is true that Hawkins is a perennial also-ran candidate; and it is true that Maxwell School professor Bob McClure recently was quoted in the Post-Standard about one of the upcoming Maffei-Sweetland debates:
“Our objective – Channel 5’s and Maxwell’s – is to provide voters with the kind of information, and in as much depth or detail as possible, to allow them to evaluate the two candidates, one of which will be their congressman,” McClure explained. Hawkins – who has been on the ballot in 13 prior elections without winning – has no chance of being elected, McClure said.
In the “Let’s Play Democracy” game of what passes for public debate these days, the people putting on the democracy events of course have the right to set their own rules. There are plenty of other public forums in the community for a minor candidate to get their views aired. But McClure’s comment is a new and naked admission that the electorate no longer has time to invite “political losers” into the public square, even if they do get on the ballot. And America doesn’t like losers, so perhaps those who have passed their “sell-by” date need not apply?
Should Hawkins get to join the debate? Or would his presence be a waste of the public’s time at this point? I’m not sure how to answer this myself… as the last debate I attended at Maxwell (Valesky vs. Hoffman vs. Dadey — who claimed to be invited only at 11 a.m. the day of) turned into a “forum” where only Valesky managed to show up. Fun and games.