I was contacted by the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records recently to inform me that I just might be included in their next edition.
It seems that this election day will be my eleventh consecutive attempt at running for Governor of New Hampshire and, if I don’t win, I will have officially broken the record for “Most Consecutive Futile Attempts At Running For A Public Office Without A Victory.”
I have to admit I was a bit surprised. I certainly didn’t have this goal in mind when I first started on this journey in 1996. (The previous record is held by Harold Harrington of Ottumwa, Iowa, who ran for Register of Deeds ten times in a row with no success.)
This is certainly not something I am proud of, but if I can’t seem to make it to the big chair in the corner office of the State House this year, then I guess I will just have to be happy with my inclusion in the 2017 edition of Guinness.
It’s not like I haven’t been trying, as I’m sure readers of this column can attest to. It’s just that certain protocols which are in place have made it virtually impossible for me to get elected.
I can’t tell you how many people over the years have written to me or approached me at the deli counter at the local supermarket to tell me that they would like to vote for me for Governor as the Flatlander candidate. In fact many, who are disillusioned with what’s been going on lately, want to be registered members of the Flatlander Party and join the fight, but they can’t.
It seems that here in New Hampshire, when you register to vote, you are only allowed to pick from one of three options: Republican, Democrat or Undeclared.
These folks that come and talk to me (usually when I am in a discussion with the deli clerk on exactly how thick I’d like my bologna) are a bit upset that they aren’t allowed to choose Flatlander Party, or any other party besides those two for that matter, because it’s against the rules.
One woman was particularly distraught, not just because her number in the deli line was “78” and they were only up to “55”, but also because she was told at the town offices where she lived that if she didn’t want to register for either Republican or Democrat she would have to choose Undeclared.
“So, I told the clerk, I AM DECLARED, I WANT TO REGISTER AS A MEMBER OF THE FLATLANDER PARTY!,” she told me while looking around on the floor to see if she could find a discarded lower number thrown away by someone who just couldn’t wait any longer for a pound of low salt turkey breast.
“I know, it is unfair,” I told her. “But you can still make a difference by writing in my name once you are in the voting booth.”
My suggestion went unheeded as she did find that lower number and was now concerned with wedging her way through the crowd.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this. (Actually, I can, it is nine times). People want to join with me on election day and be registered to vote as a Flatlander, but the powers that be have made the rules and there are only two choices allowed.
It’s really a psychological thing. Once people are registered in one party or another, they feel an obligation to vote for whoever it is the powers that be in that party decided to put on the ballot, even if it’s a dish rag, which is often the case.
Not letting people feel like they are truly a member of the Flatlander Party by letting them register as one, gives them no reason to feel committed to whatever person happens to be running for governor under the Flatlander Ticket. In this case, me.
Of course, people can register as undeclared, taking away the psychological factor, but once they are in the voting booth, all bets are off, no matter how many free doughnuts they ate at one of my rallies. They will most likely pick the Republican or Democrat anyway because they keep hearing (most likely from a registered Republican or Democrat) that voting for a third party is a wasted vote, so they go ahead and choose which one they think isn’t as awful as the other one based on the thousands of TV commercials the have watched over the last weeks before election day.
So, things are looking good for me to be making the Guinness Book Of World Records for next year. It isn’t something I’m proud of, I’d much rather be sitting in that big chair at the State House (and using that magnificent rest room), but until they change things up as far as letting people register for any party they want, I don’t feel it happening any time soon.