Say a candidate for the United States Senate, who won his or her respective party’s nomination, was arrested for the murder of his or her family after the nomination but before the debate, you can be certain the NET would not include that person in the debate. They would most likely look to the Nebraska Democratic Party for an alternative. So, when the NET announced Monday, that only Chris Janicek and Republican nominee, Ben Sasse, would be allowed on stage for the debate this year, their six-year old policy, which they site as the reason for their decision, is really no more than an arbitrary excuse they are using to shield themselves from making a good decision. Their policy is clearly a matter of degree, not a policy set in stone.
I fully understand why they are reluctant to change. In a normal year, they would not want to include some yahoo who just wanted to get on stage for the debate and cause problems, but this, in an understatement of biblical proportion, is not a normal year.
Chris Janicek did not murder his family, but he did commit an offense so staggering to the Nebraska Democratic Party, they pulled their endorsement. That has never happened. Clearly, the NET could never have foreseen such a situation when they set their policy, and they could change it if they chose. They have refused. What is their reasoning? Evidently, they do not see blatant sexist behavior and sexual harassment, which caused a major political party to drop their endorsement, a matter significant enough to at the very least included a third candidate. Given the profile of sexual harassment these days, it is shocking they don’t exclude Janicek altogether. It leaves the appearance they condone his behavior.
I’m confident Ben Sasse wouldn’t mind the addition. Further splitting the Democratic vote and having help in the open ridicule of Janicek would be a proposition he would probably enjoy. It would be great television. As it sits, I'm surprised Sasse is even bothering to debate.
At this writing, Brad Ashford has declined a write-in run. However, there are a number of first-rate candidates whose names have been put forward. Of the short list being discussed, any of them would be a quantum improvement in our current representation in Washington, and far better candidates than Chris Janicek could ever be. Someone will step forward before the debate, and when that happens, that person will likely received the endorsement of the Party.
If the NET did not have their head in the sand, they would honor the wishes of the Nebraska Democratic Party and pull Janicek from the debate for cause. It would send a clear message that candidates for office have a higher threshold of acceptable behavior in Nebraska. That would be a decision all Nebraska could cheer.
When a Nebraska Democratic Party endorsement emerges in the next few days, the NET has a chance to readdress this policy and make it right. I wonder what percentage of contributions to the NET come from Democratic Party households? I’ll bet it’s significant. Maybe you should drop them a line and let them know that sexual harassment is serious. Their email is: email@example.com.
Photo courtesy of netnebraska.org.