odd press conference that Independent candidate for governor, Eliot Cutler, made today, actually makes a lot of sense to me. It's a pretty rare thing when a third-party or Independent candidate is actually competitive in a contest like this, and in many cases, the endeavor almost seems like a kind of activism or awareness campaign to focus on different issues.
Eliot Cutler's candidacy was real, and his polling numbers, if not really competitive, were deeply respectable. So the decision to remain on the ballot (it being just a week before Election Day), yet telling voters to consider their consciences, seems a very real way of admitting that while he isn't likely to win, he doesn't want folks to throw their vote away on him as a protest when he isn't liable to win.
I think it represents a good understanding of the importance of elections and the value of votes. One thing that makes me a little steamed is when people say things like "I won't vote, it just encourages the assholes"--as if assholes will be able to read the tea leaves of the vanished voters' fit of pique. Eliot Cutler is a pretty decent candidate--notably in his favor, to me, is an acceptance of climate science and a record of having worked with environmental policy. He's a reality-based thinker and policy-maker. I think that's good. We need people like him in government.
But you know what? I think current Tea Party Governor Paul LePage is just awful, and arrogant, and getting people like him out of government is absolutely crucial for getting anything done. Mike Michaud seems like a solid candidate who cares about things like health care, education, and jobs. He's a flexible and reasonable politician--not an ideologue. I think he could be a breath of fresh air that sweeps out something not-quite-right, and that's how I understood Cutler's move today.