Neo-Nazi on the ballot

Neo-Nazi on the ballot

There's room for all kinds of political mischief in the democratic process.

Arthur Jones is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District. Does anybody care?

He's one of those perennial candidates, having run for mayor and alderman in Chicago and mayor in Milwaukee.

He tried to run for the U.S. House from the 3rd District in 2016, but errors in his petitions got him thrown off the ballot. This year, Jones did his petitions the right way and survived a challenge.

Still, he doesn't stand a chance in the fall election. Anyone care yet?

There's no reason to care. But some people do anyhow. Indeed, they profess to be morally outraged by Jones' doomed candidacy.

Here's why — Jones is one of those goofy Nazis, a Jew-hating knucklehead who has proclaimed his political loyalty to the sickening legacy of Adolf Hitler.

That makes him a pathetic character in many ways.

Still the excitement over Jones' candidacy is completely overblown.

Democrats are trying to use it as a cudgel against Republicans in Illinois, prompting Gov. Bruce Rauner to condemn Jones' ballot spot.

The Chicago Tribune wrote an editorial warning people not to "accidentally vote for the neo-Nazi."

They won't.

But here's the thing. Jones has as much right to run for public office as anybody else.

Democracies aren't meant to be tidy or quiet, but to give everyone a chance to have their voice heard. That includes those who have no political supporters because of their sickening philosophies.

Why is Jones running for the House? Why didn't a real Republican file to be the GOP nominee and challenge the Democratic Party's nominee?

Well, for starters and by design, the district's boundary lines were drawn to ensure a Democrat will always win in the 3rd District, where U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski serves.

He's facing a challenge in the March 20 Democratic Party primary, the winner of which is a sure winner in November.

Given that reality, there's an understandable lack of otherwise ambitious Republicans in the 3rd District willing to undertake the back-breaking effort required to run for the U.S. House.

With zero chance to raise campaign funds and run a winning campaign, a real Republican would have to either be incredibly foolish or naive to take on a challenge of that nature.

So the surprise is not that a real Republican declined to run and lose, the unwelcome surprise is that Jones decided to take advantage of this opportunity to use a vehicle usually reserved for one of the two major political parties and seek public office.

This nation's electoral history is filled with cases where political extremists sought public office solely for the purpose of raising their political flags. It's done no real harm to our system because real extremists have never been able to gain traction in our two-party system.

It is a bit unusual that Jones is running as a Republican. But those looking for another reason to do away with the gerrymandering of legislative district have found one. All kinds of zealots can fill the political vacuum created to snuff out the prospects of major party candidates. So the fewer the available ballot spots, the better it will be for everyone.

In the meantime, Jones is off and running in the most futile of political gestures.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Glock21 wrote on February 08, 2018 at 9:02 am

"It’s done no real harm to our system because real extremists have never been able to gain traction in our two-party system."

There are white nationalists in the White House and the Republican party is defending them, giving them cover and supporting white nationalist policies. This as real extremists keep telling you in no uncertain terms that they support these same exact people and policies. Just because the extremists in the GOP are waving the American flag doesn't change these facts.

It's reasonble to dismiss hyperbole. It's not being reasonable to dismiss extremism when it is actually happening.

jparks wrote on February 08, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Hillary, you lost.  Please go away.

At least until your first court date.  First of many.  

Your web is collapsing around you.

JohnRalphio wrote on February 08, 2018 at 11:02 pm

This misleading editorial purposely overlooks the growing voice of white supremacists in the Republican party. This candidate isn't an anomaly or a kook running as a fluke. It's a win-win for the Republicans for this person to run. If Jones does better than expected, it emboldens the anti-Semitic extreme alt-right segment of the party and justifies even more extremist rhetoric. If Jones does really badly, mainstream Republicans can disavow his viewpoints and claim it shows Republicans won't tolerate neo-Nazism. 

But the fact that Republicans aren't immediately condemning this candidate shows that they're willing to wait and see whether it's to their strategic advantage or not to do so. So much for the party of personal ethics, again.

spangwurfelt wrote on February 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

The GOP of District 3 have about a month to put together a write-in candidacy and get this Nazi off the ticket, or else he's going to be a five-star national talking point about how unserious the GOP really is when it comes to racism.