The Republican party in New York State hopes to choose its gubernatorial candidate this week. The party establishment hopes to spare favorite Rick Lazio the ordeal of a primary, but three other candidates hope to reach a threshold of support that will force just such a divisive vote later this summer. Lazio's position has been bolstered by the endorsement of the Conservative Party, but he will be primaried for that line as well, at least theoretically, a placeholder ticket having gotten enough support at last month's conclave to force the vote. Partisans in both camps worry about Lazio's ability to compete against Attorney General Cuomo. Others may question his ideological credentials in this season of tea parties. If the nominee of the Republican and Conservative parties ends up insufficiently conservative for some people, what is to be done?
This would seem like the moment for the Constitution Party to raise its public profile by running to the right of both ostensibly conservative parties. The party already has a gubernatorial candidate, Jan Johnson. Her platform features "Five Keys": "Restore Constitutional Government" by means unspecified; "Reduce Excessive Taxation" by reducing government to its "rightfully and constitutionally controlled size;" "Restrict Illegal Immigration" by eliminating "welfare subsidies to illegal's [sic]" and forcing them to leave and come back through proper channels; "Revamp Education" by waiting for the federal government to abolish the Department of Education and then empowering parents to set curricula locally, including the Bible if parents so desire; and "Rebuilding the Family" by rejecting all alternatives to its "God-given definition," ending abortions, gambling, pornography, etc.
Nationally, the Constitution Party is an anti-war faction of the religious right. The party promoted itself at Tea Parties and similar events but hasn't seemed to gain traction for their trouble, most TPs seeking the short cut to power by attempting takeovers of Republican party organizations. The Johnson candidacy isn't showing much life, either. Her "News and Events" page is currently blank. In theory, there should be no better time for the Constitution ticket to present itself as a vigorous alternative to Lazio, whom many find an uninspiring candidate. Whether they have the resources or the creativity to do so is another story. It can be argued that the news media have an obligation to report the Constitution Party's existence and inform the public of its full range of choices. But the CP doesn't have a line on the ballot and must get signatures to earn one. Are the media obliged to help them with this? This looks like a case where the media may help those who help themselves. If the Constitution Party wants to be taken seriously, they need to start taking themselves seriously right about now.