Why keep Keyes off the ballot?

I can understand Republicans wanting to keep Alan Keyes off the ballot; he’s obviously going to be a huge embarrassment. They’d be much better off either leaving the race open, thus avoiding a huge turnout for Obama that could hurt their down-ticket chances, or giving some of their young talent some statewide exposure.

But why on Earth would Democrats want to keep him off?

Even if it weren’t bad strategy, this strikes me as bad ethics. I don’t know the Illinois law, but my view on Illiniois is the same as was my view on New Jersey: if at all legally possible, the voters ought to have an actual choice. A weak Republican canididate preserves that; a hoplessly discredited Republican who isn’t actually running doesn’t. Allowing the state-level party committees to fill in seems like a sensible approach.

Not one of our finer hours, fellas.

Hat tip: Atrios.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: