In New York, the Conservative Party is always happy to remind Republicans that no modern GOP candidate for governor has won without the Conservative endorsement. The Conservative endorsement of Rick Lazio in advance of the Republican convention may have made it easier for him to win his own party's nomination, though he still faces a token primary challenge. Whether the same rule of necessity applies in campaigns for U.S. Senate is unclear. The Conservatives have nominated Joe DioGuardi to challenge Senator Gillibrand, but he won't appear on the Republican primary ballot unless he can secure a certain number of petitions. DioGuardi clearly believes that his victory depends on winning the Republican primary. His rationalization for coveting the Republican line betrays the way that Bipolarchy thinking can infiltrate even the minds of independent candidates.
"New Yorkers deserve to hear every voice, every idea, every candidate during the debate preceding the primary election." DioGuardi writes, "They deserve to understand every angle before deciding who they believe can beat Sen. Gillibrand this November and go on to proudly and properly represent New York in the U.S. Senate. In order to give Republican voters that opportunity, I have decided to petition onto the Republican primary ballot."
The candidate forgets that Republicans already have that opportunity, because he already has a line on the November ballot. Nothing stops registered Republicans for voting for him this fall except the admittedly tenacious delusion that no candidate but the Democrat or the Republican is truly creditable. By seeking the GOP nomination, DioGuardi himself effectively concedes that point. He also asserts the existence of that ideological Bipolarchy which justifies the existence of the partisan bipolarchy in ideologues' eyes. In what some observers may admire as a reversal of the usual Republican argument, DioGuardi, calls on Republicans to unite with Conservatives by nominating him in order to defeat the common enemy, the liberal [albeit Blue Dog] incumbent Gillibrand. But he defeats whatever ironic effect his appeal might have by billing himself as a "commonsense Republican." A New Yorker might ask why a commonsense Republican begins the race as the Conservative rather than Republican nominee, when ideology is arguably a deviation from common sense. Conservatives, however, are even less likely to ask the question, since they see themselves as the shadow Republican party in this state.
In fact, DioGuardi comes across as something close to a commonsense Republican when you look at his issue statements. He appears to be primarily a fiscal rather than a social or cultural conservative. There's little red meat for anyone to dunk in their tea. As a former congressman he bucks the tide against experienced politicians, though he boasts more of his decades as a CPA than of his tenure in the House of Representatives. If there's anything to fault him for besides his ideology, it's his failure to appreciate his independence or his obligation to build on it to ensure that New Yorkers have more choices when he isn't one of them.