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My Favorite Alien

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Seems there was “interference” in last Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, where Republican candidate Troy Balderson holds a very slim lead over Democrat Danny O’Connor. 

That is how Seema Iyer, a reporter with Channel 6, the ABC affiliate in Columbus, described it.

Was it the Russians? Well, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted that yes, indeed, she thought the result was a clear-cut sign of “Russian meddling.” After all, her candidate lost. 

All she lacked was evidence.

“Actress, Armed Gun Control Activist, and International Security Expert Alyssa Milano Laments Putin Voting in Ohio,” was Red State’s headline on the story.

Others, instead, followed the old adage: When in doubt, blame the aliens.

Not illegal aliens, mind you, but a real honest-to-goodness alien from outer space — from “a planet orbiting a star in the Pleiades star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus.”

That is, ifGreen Party congressional candidate John Manchik was serious when he posted that identification on his Facebook page.

He wasn’t. 

He now has assured a waiting world that he is actually fully human.

“Give me a break,” Manchik responded to Iyer’s question. “Sometimes you put silly things on Facebook.”

Ms. Iyer also felt the need to query Manchik about possible Russian influence, even while admitting that her question was “ridiculous.” 

So, no, Democrats cannot blame the Russians or space aliens for their narrow defeat last week. 

Instead, they will point the finger of fault not at Little Green Men butat the Green Party. 

In a long, odd television interview with Manchik — ironically, conducted not beforethe election, when it might have provided valuable information for decision-making voters, but instead the day after— Seema Iyer suggested the Green Party candidate was “interfering.”

Noting that the 1,100 votes cast for the Green alternative, a mere 0.6 percent of the total, “could have gone to [Democrat] Daniel O’Conner,” the reporter asked, “How do you respond to the Democrats that are saying it is your fault that Daniel O’Conner didn’t win?”

“I couldn’t care less,” Manchik responded. “Because there really is no difference between the Democratic Party and Republican Party. The Democratic Party is a corrupt, corporate-owned political party with billions in corporate cash just like the Republican Party.”

Iyer repeatedly tried to get Manchik to say he preferred the Democrat over the Republican. Problem is, he doesn’t. 

He doesn’t see any significant difference.

When Iyer explained that “The Democrats are saying . . . the Green Party took our votes and these votes could be used to put a Democrat in office and then they could have implemented real change that would be good for Ohio,” I nearly busted a gut laughing. 

“That’s never going to happen,” Manchik countered, more seriously — meaning Democrats would not enact “real” or “good” changes.

The candidate succinctly stated his “main reason” to run for office as a Green: “to give the people of the 12th district a real voice in their out of control government. That’s something that neither the Republican Party nor Democratic Party will do.”

One may find the Green Party platform less than palatable. I certainly do. But members of this minor oarty have explained a zillion times why they aren’t Democrats and why they see Democrats as a giant part of our undeniable political mess. On that, as well as on their support for initiative and referendum and other small-d democratic process reforms, I’m with the Greens.

If Democrats want Greens out of their way — and of course at times, Republicans want the Libertarians out of their way as well — there are several ways to go about it. Appeal to Greens by actually implementing some of their policy positions, perhaps. Win their votes.

On the other hand, Democrats and Republicans can avoid being spoiled by Green and Libertarian candidates in their pursuit of high office. Simply enact a better voting system than we have now: ranked choice voting

Maine voters have twice approved ranked choice voting and a number of cities across the country employ it. Using this electoral method, voters may rank candidates . . . and when one’s first choice doesn’t win, one’s vote can transfer to a second or third choice. 

Under ranked choice voting, if the more than 1,000 Ohioans who voted for Manchik had preferred his Democratic opponent to his Republican opponent, their votes would have ultimately gone to the Democrat. 

Problem is, even if all the Green Party votes went to the Democrat, he still would be losing. There were 1,129 votes for the Green Party candidate in Ohio’s 12thh congressional district, but Republican Troy Balderson leads Democrat Danny O’Connor by 1,564 votes.

Arithmetic has never been the Democrats’ strong suit. 

And America needs more such interference in our elections . . . by Americans.

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