Travis Rowley: Caprio’s Reckoning
Saturday, November 06, 2010
First, let’s just get something obvious out of the way: Third-party experiments have no place in a state such as Rhode Island, where serious reformers are so outmatched that the division of their forces will always prove to be counter-productive. No doubt about it, Ken Block’s Moderate Party was the game-winning shot for the status quo.
Block took 6 percent of the overall vote in the gubernatorial race, a majority of which was likely ripped from Republican John Robitaille, who only lost to Lincoln Chafee by just over 2 percent. Congratulations, Mr. Block. But what was the point again?
The primary lesson for Rhode Islanders to take away from the governor’s race, however, is that the RI Democrat Party deliberately uplifted far-left independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, and purposely betrayed lifelong Democrat Frank Caprio.
During the race, as expected, independent voters were rejecting the independent candidate, and flocking toward their historically preferred candidate – the Republican. Chafee needed the Democrats to secure his victory by abandoning their own endorsed candidate. Bob Walsh, Executive Director of the NEA-RI, confirmed these election dynamics as he attended the Chafee victory celebration: “This was one big Democrat primary [race].”
Yup. And the progressive coalition delivered the Democrats for Chafee.
The simple reality of the RI Democrat Party is that it is not run by Democrats. It’s under the control of pubic union interests and far-left community organizers – radicals with no patience for economic reality. And Frank Caprio, like many other Democrats finally awakening to the horrors their party has caused, dared to suddenly defy the big-government agenda. Simultaneously, Lincoln Chafee began to pander to it.
Game, Set, Match. Lincoln Chafee became a wet dream for the Rhode Island Left. He had them at “I will tax the hell out of this state.”
Within Democratic circles, Caprio was toast from the get-go. And he knew it. So he considered running for governor as a Republican. Ultimately rejecting that route, but still understanding the political composition of his party, Caprio tried like hell to portray himself as a low-tax, business-friendly candidate. He attempted to court as many conservative voters as possible, an effort that included asking John Robitaille to drop out of the race, and that culminated in telling the progressive President of the United States to “shove it.”
Most of the state’s Republicans and conservative independents weren’t biting. Caprio finished the race with only 23 percent of the vote.
It was actually sort of sweet for Republicans this election season, watching Democrats come under the knife of their progressive party members. For decades, conservatives have warned of the radical socialists that Democrats were welcoming into their party. The day of reckoning was always on its way. Every Democrat would ultimately have to decide whether they would abide the progressives by completing their big-government project, or save the state from bankruptcy by pulling back on the socialist schedule - and then suffer a defeat in the next Democratic primary election.
Just ask Democratic representatives Doug Gablinske, David Caprio, Al Gemma, and Mary Ann Shallcross-Smith what happens when elected Democrats resist the progressive program. As GoLocalProv.com reported several weeks ago, “Unions were the big winner in Tuesday’s primary, taking most of the races for state rep that they targeted and potentially extending their control over the General Assembly.”
Frank Caprio’s run for governor was, in fact, just another personal showdown with the Rhode Island Left. And another one bit the dust.
Progressives will kick any friend to the curb if it is in the interest of stifling economic growth. Nothing is sacred but the tools of the utopian revolution – taxes, spending, and debt. Any Democrat even flirting with fiscal responsibility is doomed for the type of liberal wrath typically reserved for Republicans.
Which is precisely why the RI Republican Party remains the only hope for the State of Rhode Island.
Travis Rowley (www.TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans.
- Travis Rowley: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left
- Excerpts from Travis Rowley’s “The Rhode Island Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left”