In an opinion piece published by the NY Times, Gail Colling ostracizes and targets all the fringe voters of America primarily people still supportive of Gravel seemingly asserting we are wasting time casting votes opposing the frontrunners in the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Gail Collins says:
The South Carolina primary results were so amazing that it took me a while to notice that while a record-breaking number of voters were racing to the polls to take part in the historic Clinton-Obama-Edwards showdown, 240 Democratic voters had cast their ballots for Mike Gravel.
When a very large group of people gets involved in anything, there are going to be some eccentric opinions floating around the edges. But I sure would like to meet those Gravel voters. Were they really aiming for somebody else and slipped? Was there something about the name that attracted them? (I believe New Jersey has an official state dirt, so there are obviously strong opinions on landfill.) Were they impressed by the debate where he compared himself to a potted plant? Or the speech he made to the New Hampshire high schoolers in which he urged the youth to avoid liquor and cocaine and stick to marijuana and prescription drugs?
You can guess where this is going. It's going to be a diatribe on how fringe candidates should never run. I'm leaving out the logically reasoned part about Duncan Hunter because it's the other parts that deserve attention.
There’s a second kind of candidate who says he’s in the campaign to get in touch with the electorate. Dennis Kucinich is in this league, and Ron Paul. The argument here is that (a) I, the underdog candidate have a compelling message that the voters would rally around once they heard it (b) You, the swinelike media, have deliberately ignored my compelling message, depriving the voters of the chance to judge me fairly (c) Therefore I must run for president so I can get on the nationally televised debates and state my case.
This theory never actually works out, but you can see the attractiveness of it, particularly to people who deeply distrust the mainstream media. I don’t think, in an age of Internet fundraising, that anybody should be taken seriously as a candidate unless he/she has managed to raise enough money to run a modest but real campaign by the time Iowa has its caucus. Ron Paul did that and he’ll probably be with us until the bitter end. However, Kucinich managed to insert himself into 37 nationally televised debates, in the guise of a serious presidential candidate, without any result whatsoever. Then he went to court to try to force MSNBC to let him onto another debate in Nevada. Really, there’s a limit.
If I had a complaint about the also-rans in this election it was that they didn’t really supply us with much added interest. Nobody threw himself into a mosh pit like Alan Keyes did in 2000. Now if Mike Gravel had tried that, the 240 votes might have made more sense.
The opinion editorial suggests that the media's coverage of Dennis Kucinich was as fair as coverage of other candidates polling higher. It suggests that if a candidate is not polling high enough he or she does not deserve media attention because he or she is not a "serious candidate." The absurdity of this grows also because they are trying to assert that Ron Paul somehow fits into this group of fringe candidates. Yet, since Ron Paul has been on Meet the Press, only been locked out of one debate (right?), and even reported on in the media when he had record-breaking fundraising days he is doing way better than Kucinich ever did especially since the media never went outside of covering Kucinich's impeach Cheney campaign to report stories on how his campaign was going.
Ron Paul has had poor media coverage though. And in the debates, he has been pushed aside almost just as much as Kucinich or Gravel was because rarely are the candidates ever asked to respond to Paul's remarks in the debates.
Making a claim that any candidate is not a "serious candidate" means one would have to say they did not develop a schedule of travel for the campaign trail where they would go around and meet thousands if not millions of supporters. Kucinich, Dodd, Paul, and even Tom Tancredo all traveled hoping to rally people to support them. Dodd was once doing better financially than some of the Democratic frontrunners because Wall Street was donating far more money to his campaign than many of the others.
In the comments section of this article someone made a great suggestion by suggesting that these 240 Gravel Supporters be seeked out and asked what made them vote for Gravel instead of the other Democratic candidates.
I'm going to follow that suggestion and say---
If you voted for Gravel in South Carolina or any previous primary, send an email to email@example.com . I will publish an article on what is making Gravel voters oppose the other Democratic candidates and vote Gravel. (That's not to say that voters aren't just voting Gravel because they like him.)
I will give you the attention the "swinelike media" isn't and never has given you. They've done you worse than Kucinich. And Kucinich supporters never understood or communicated to Dennis Kucinich how important it was to not act like what was happening to you by the media was any different than what was happening to Gravel. Dennis should have issued support for Gravel. And he should have mentioned Gravel in the debates before making a statement on any of the issues so people knew he was running.
Hope to hear from Gravel voters soon. Peace.