The Silence Is Deafening

By: Edward L. Marcus

Ned Lamont made a statement in yesterday’s debate with Joe Ganim that has shocked members of the Democratic Party throughout the State of Connecticut.

Lamont, in unequivocally stating he would not support Joe Ganim if Ganim is the gubernatorial nominee of the Democratic Party, has disavowed one of the principle tenets of that Party: you support your nominee.

When you are running for public office and you have an opponent in a party primary, of course the answer should be that you would support the winner of the primary, regardless of how tough the primary campaigning might be. That is how a decision is made as to who the nominee of the party may be. The party’s voters have the final word. If you don’t win the primary, you don’t simply pick up your ball and bat and go home! You continue working for the party and the voters’ choice of nominee.

You simply don’t ignore the wishes of your party’s voters – unless you want to permanently alienate all those who voted for your opponent.

Lamont has now on two occasions said that he would not support the nominee of the party unless he is the nominee. The resulting silence from the leadership of the party has been deafening. Not a word, not a comment. I find it hard to understand how the party leadership could so abandon its role.

It is deplorable -- and not at all positive for our democracy -- to have anyone running for office who is so self-centered and egotistical that he will not accept the possibility of a defeat. Moreover, he will not agree to support the person running against him – from the same Party with, ostensibly, reasonably similar political views.

In this case, the person running in the primary against Lamont is not an inexperienced nobody. It just happens to be the Mayor of the biggest city in the state, Bridgeport, and an individual who has done a fantastic job leading the remaking and rebuilding that city.

Joe Ganim has a good chance of winning the primary on Tuesday but if he doesn’t, he will still be Mayor of Bridgeport with substantial clout in the state of Connecticut and within the Democratic Party. I don’t believe that anyone supporting Joe or anyone who believes in the Democratic Party will ever forget or forgive this Lamont insult. It is a clear slap in the face of democracy and Democratic Party values.

Ed Marcus is former chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee in Connecticut and former State Senate Majority Leader.