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Arthur Jones will almost certainly become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat. This friendly chap is the former leader of the American Nazi Party, calls the holocaust a hoax, and stated his regret for voting for Trump because he "surrounded himself with hordes of Jews". A real piece of work.

He managed to get the Republican nomination because the GOP didn't bother running a candidate in the "blue" area, and Jones managed to get enough signatures to get in the race. The Republican party is hardly happy with this state of affairs, and have stated this clearly: "The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones. We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District".

But do they have any means to prevent Jones from appearing as a "Republican" on the ballot (that is, appear with the Republican "brand name")?

  • Didn't we have exactly same question about Moore? I dount IL laws are vastly different – user4012 Feb 6 '18 at 3:10
  • Maybe @user4012? If there is one, I can't find it. Also don't know how important state law is here? (in the specific case of Arthur Jones, I've seen multiple people say different things on Teh Interwebz, all without source of course) – user11249 Feb 6 '18 at 3:33
  • state elections are governed by state law, so that'd be pretty much paramount. – user4012 Feb 6 '18 at 14:02
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    Illionois congressional seats seem to attract... strange candidates. dailycaller.com/2018/02/05/… – user4012 Feb 6 '18 at 23:03
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    At risk of stating the obvious, the way to prevent him from becoming the nominee is to run someone against him who can beat him. After he's in, it's much harder. Given the funding that parties have, it shouldn't be hard to put up candidates in situations like this when they arise. I think the obvious answer here is that stopping guys like Arthur Jones from wining the primary where he'll lose the election hasn't been a priority, cause if it was a priority it probably could have been prevented. – userLTK Feb 19 '18 at 2:56
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It depends on what you mean by "Republican Party." If you mean the Party County Chairperson, or some other official of the party, then no. This is a good thing, it prevents the local Party bosses from directly controlling who can or cannot run for office, regardless of their reasons. If they could, the reasons will undoubtedly run to graft and corruption over time.

If you mean "the voting members of the Party," then certainly. The members are not required to vote for any particular individual, and are free to vote for anyone else on the ballot for this office, to not cast a vote for this office, or in many jurisdictions, to write in a candidate who is not officially on the ballot.

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    In particular, in the U.S., political parties don't have to approve or vet prospective candidates. If you registered to vote in the party, you can run as a candidate in the party, without any party official's approval. Candidates choose the party, not the other way around. Parties don't actually "run candidates" per se, candidates choose to affiliate and run in a part and sometimes the party organization decides to support them. – ohwilleke Apr 19 '18 at 4:12
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Legal Challenges

You're asking if there is any way for the Illinois GOP to prevent Arthur Jones from being the Republican candidate for the US House.

Yes. They can challenge the validity of the signatures he collected to qualify for the ballot or accuse him of other violations of the election code.

In fact, in a previous attempt for the nomination, he was removed from the ballot for invalid signatures and other legal violations. (He's attempted to get the nomination six times since 1998.)

As of this writing, however, it doesn't appear that there is anything else that can be done. There have been no challenges to his petitions. And it's too late to run challengers, even as write-ins. The filing deadlines have passed.


Why?

But a larger question is why would we want to prevent a candidate from running?

  • In a free country, anybody who meets the constitutional requirements should be allowed to run for Congress.

  • Political parties, or any other group for that matter, should not be in the business of suppressing free expression, regardless of how detestable it may be.

  • Political parties should encourage a free exchange of ideas and welcome all candidates into the arena. Let them fight it out. May the best man or woman win.

  • Arthur Jones got the required number of signatures on his petitions to qualify for the ballot. Preventing him from running disenfranchises the citizens who support him.

In the US we should not prevent a candidate from running. The right way to beat a candidate is to run your own candidate. The Illinois GOP failed to do that. If a Nazi gets the nomination, they only have themselves to blame.


Context

Due to gerrymandering throughout the country, most seats in the US House, and many seats in state legislatures, rarely, if ever, switch between parties.

The re-election rate in the US Congress over the past 50 years is consistently 85%+, with the rate reaching 98% in many election cycles.

In my home state, New York, the re-election rate in the state legislature is always 90%+.

From the New York Times:

Last year, more than half of the 212 legislators in the Senate and Assembly won with more than 80 percent of the vote. Fifty-seven ran unopposed, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group. The average senator has served for nearly seven two-year terms.

So, basically, until there is redistricting reform on a national scale, a huge number of legislators can enjoy job security nearing what's given to a federal judge (lifetime appointments). They just need to watch out for primary challengers. (Sadly, this creates a class of high priority constituents made up of party leaders and activists, while the general population can be safely ignored.)

That said, most congressional districts in the US go without a serious challenge. This creates a vacuum. It can be filled by anybody. The third congressional district of Illinois is a good example. The seat has been solidly Democrat since 1975. In 2016, the Democrat won with 100% of the vote. In 2014, the Democrat received 65% of the vote. The Illinois GOP doesn't bother investing anything into this race. With no standard bearer, a wide assortment of characters see a realistic pathway to the nomination.

However, with a news media that is generally anti-Republican and anti-conservative, and always on the look-out for a sensational story, a GOP candidate who could be portrayed as a Nazi (regardless of their odds of winning) was bound to make national news.

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    -1 for the unrelated commentary, especially the suggestion that letting a Nazi run in the name of your party should be encouraged as an "exchange of ideas", or that Jones - a Holocaust denier, antisemite, former member of the American Nazi party, and someone described by the Republican party as a Nazi - is merely "portrayed as a Nazi" by "anti-Republican and anti-conservative" news media. – tim Feb 18 '18 at 19:16
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    The entire purpose of the First Amendment of the US Constitution is to protect ugly, unpopular and even detestable forms of speech and expression. We don't need the Bill of Rights to protect pretty, popular and likable forms of expression. Therefore, because I believe in and support the Constitution, I support the rights of Nazis, KKK members, black panthers and other hateful people to express themselves. Besides, I am not afraid of their views. The good people of the United States will always win over such hateful ideologies. So I stand by what I wrote in that respect.... – Michael_B Feb 18 '18 at 19:41
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    why would we want to prevent a candidate from running: note that this is not exactly what I asked, I asked if the GOP can prevent Jones from running as a Republican. He can still run as independent or with another party, just not as Republican. If I were a Republican, I wouldn't be happy with having a literal Nazi on the ballot with the same party name, for reasons that should be obvious (and as mentioned in the question, the GOP is just as unhappy as I would be). – user11249 Feb 18 '18 at 20:02
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    I didn't downvote, but I think there are a few problems with this answer. The question assumes he already manages to get the Republican nomination, so "don't get the nomination" doesn't really answer the question. The "Why?" section is also not what I asked, as I mentioned in a previous comment. It's also not clear to me that gerrymandering is a factor in this specific case, and your comments about Gerrymandering in general are rather off-topic. – user11249 Feb 20 '18 at 15:07
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    This answer makes the common mistake of confusing repercussions of free speech as being oppression of free speech. – user1530 Feb 20 '18 at 19:57

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